Hydrotreating Pyrolytic Lignin to Produce a Refinery Feedstock (Poster)

Research output: NRELPoster


Fast pyrolysis of biomass followed by water separation to produce pyrolytic lignin and hydrotreating of the lignin could be used to produce a stable volatile low-oxygen intermediate liquid. Such a liquid could be converted into a finished motor-fuel in a refinery, taking advantage of the existing infrastructure and economies of scale of refineries. Hydrotreating just the lignin would consume lesshydrogen while preserving about half of the energy of the original oil. The aqueous by-products could be reformed to produce the needed hydrogen and would contain much of the unwanted acids and unstable oxygenates. To assess such intermediate liquids, several pyrolytic lignins were prepared by mixing pyrolysis oil with water at 1:1 and 3:1 ratios. The carboxylic acidity in the pyrolytic ligninwas reduced to 24 and 10 mg-KOH/g-lignin compared to 81 in the whole oil. These lignins were hydrotreated using Ni-Mo(S)/alumina, Pt/char, or Pd/C(activated) in a semi-batch 1 L stirred autoclave. The oil was stabilized under hydrogen at 150-280 degrees C, then water and light organics were removed by partial depressurization. Hydrodeoxygenation was then performed at 340-400 degrees C. Totalpressure was controlled at 70 or 170 bar with hydrogen gas. Organic liquid yields of 39-56% were obtained. For many experiments the organic oxygen content was <7%, acidity was < 7 mg-KOH/g-oil, the volatility was greater than or equal to 94% and, on a carbon basis, the total yield of organic products miscible in hydrocarbons at a 1:10 ratio was over 50%. These properties are probably acceptableto a refinery.The residual liquids left in the reactor at the end of the experiment comprised 60-85% of the organic-phase product while the rest was condensate. 13C-NMR of the residual liquids showed that they were 50-80% aliphatic. 13C-NMR coupled with GC-MS identified phenolic compounds as the main oxygenates in most residual liquids.
Original languageAmerican English
PublisherNational Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
StatePublished - 2013

Publication series

NamePresented at the TC Biomass 2013, 3-6 September 2013, Chicago, Illinois

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PO-5100-60256


  • acidity
  • biomass
  • catalysts
  • hydrotreating
  • lignin
  • miscibility
  • nickel
  • Palladium
  • platinum
  • pyrolysis oils


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