Feedstock and Catalyst Impact on Bio-Oil Production and FCC Co-Processing to Fuels: Article No. 106502

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NREL's thermochemical biomass conversion research is focused on ex-situ upgrading of biomass fast-pyrolysis (FP) vapors as an efficient route to completely biogenic pyrolysis-based fuel precursors, fuels, and value-added chemicals depending on catalyst and process conditions. A near term pathway being developed uses these liquids for co-processing with petroleum feedstocks to assess biogenic carbon incorporation in hydrocarbon fuel feedstocks for potential refinery use. In this work, the impact of feedstock and catalyst on catalytic fast pyrolysis oil (CFPO) composition was determined with the oils then assessed for biogenic fuel production via FCC (fluidized catalytic cracking) co-processing. Biomass vapors were generated via fast pyrolysis with destabilizing vapor components (char, inorganics, tar aerosols) removed by hot gas filtration to produce clean vapors more responsive to catalytic upgrading. A Davison Circulating Riser (DCR), a petroleum industry standard for fluidized catalytic cracking (FCC) catalyst evaluation, was coupled to a custom pyrolyzer system designed to produce consistent-composition pyrolysis vapors as feed to the DCR. Pyrolysis vapors, derived from pure hardwood and softwood, were upgraded using commercially available modified zeolite-based catalysts to produce CFPOs. These upgraded oils were analyzed via 31P and 13C NMR spectroscopy, GCxGC-TOF/MS, carbonyl and ultimate analysis (CHNO), and simulated distillation (SIMDIS) to assess both oil chemistry and distillation behavior as they relate to catalyst and feedstock type for producing fungible hydrocarbon product liquids. These exploratory vapor-phase-upgrading results demonstrated the feasibility of producing refinery-compatible hydrocarbon fuel intermediates entirely from biomass-derived fast-pyrolysis vapors using an industry-accepted DCR system for catalytic upgrading. The FCC co-processing results demonstrated the feasibility of using CFPOs with VGO feeds in FCC refinery operations to produce biogenic carbon containing fuels.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number106502
Number of pages10
JournalBiomass and Bioenergy
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5100-83589


  • Biogenic carbon
  • Catalytic fast pyrolysis
  • Co-processing
  • Fluidized catalytic cracking
  • Zeolite catalysts


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