Screening and Evaluation of Biomass Upgrading Strategies for Sustainable Transportation Fuel Production with Biomass-Derived Volatile Fatty Acids

Jacob Miller, Stephen Tifft, Matthew Wiatrowski, Pahola Benavides, Nabila Huq, Earl Christensen, Teresa Alleman, Cameron Hays, Jon Luecke, Colin Kneucker, Stefan Haugen, Violeta Sanchez i Nogue, Eric Karp, Troy Hawkins, Avantika Singh, Derek Vardon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus Citations

Abstract

Biomass conversion to fuels and chemicals is crucial to decarbonization, but choosing an advantageous upgrading pathway out of many options is challenging. Rigorously evaluating all candidate pathways (process simulation, product property testing) requires a prohibitive amount of research effort; even simple upgrading schemes have hundreds of possible permutations. We present a method enabling high-throughput screening by approximating upgrading unit operations and drop-in compatibility of products (e.g., fuel properties) and apply it to volatile fatty acid (VFA) conversion to liquid transportation fuels via a MATLAB script, VFA Upgrading to Liquid Transportation fUels Refinery Estimation (VULTURE). VULTURE selects upgrading configurations that maximize fuel blend bio-derived content. We validate VULTURE's approximations through surrogate fuel property testing and process simulation. Techno-economic and life cycle analyses suggest that VFA upgrading processes down-selected by VULTURE are profitable and have low carbon intensities, demonstrating the potential for the strategy to accelerate process development timelines at decreased costs.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numberArticle No. 105384
Number of pages26
JournaliScience
Volume25
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 18 Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5100-83468

Keywords

  • aviation fuel
  • biomass
  • catalysis
  • diesel
  • gasoline
  • modeling
  • optimization
  • organic wet wastes
  • upgrading

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