Methanol to High-Octane Gasoline within a Market-Responsive Biorefinery Concept Enabled by Catalysis

Daniel Ruddy, Jesse Hensley, Connor Nash, Eric Tan, Earl Christensen, Carrie Farberow, Frederick Baddour, Kurt Van Allsburg, Joshua Schaidle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus Citations


Biofuels production from lignocellulosic biomass is hindered by high conversion costs in the generation of high-quality fuels, driving research towards the development of new pathways with less severe conditions, higher yields and higher-quality products. Here, we present a market-responsive biorefinery concept based on methanol as the key intermediate, which generates high-octane gasoline (HOG) and jet fuel blendstocks from biomass. Process models and techno-economic analysis are linked with both fundamental and applied catalyst development research to quantify the impact of catalyst advancements on process economics. By facilitating reincorporation of C4 by-products during dimethyl ether homologation, a Cu-modified beta zeolite catalyst enabled a 38% increase in yield of the HOG product and a 35% reduction in conversion cost compared to the benchmark beta zeolite catalyst. Alternatively, C4 by-products were directed to a synthetic kerosene that met five specifications for a typical jet fuel, with a minor increase in the fuel synthesis cost versus the HOG-only case.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)632-640
Number of pages9
JournalNature Catalysis
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5100-72206


  • alkane dehydrogenation
  • high octane gasoline
  • market responsive biorefinery


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