Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Catalytic upgrade

09.05.2014

New catalysts to remove oxygenated compounds from bio-derived oils may lead to better and cheaper renewable biofuels

Dwindling crude oil reserves, accompanied by rising prices and environmental concerns, have led to increased interest in the use of renewable fuels. Biofuels produced from waste agricultural or forestry material are particularly desirable because they avoid diverting resources from the production of food crops.


The deoxygenation of biomass such as corn stover or forestry waste could be the key to development of viable biofuels.

© Matauw/iStock/Thinkstock

Oils produced by high-temperature treatment of these waste materials, however, contain a large amount of oxygenated compounds that result in undesirable properties such as high viscosity and corrosiveness.

Now, Jie Chang, Armando Borgna and co-workers from the A*STAR Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences in Singapore describe a series of catalysts that might be used to upgrade these oils by removing the undesirable oxygen-containing functional groups1. Using the compound guaiacol as a model for oxygenated bio-derived oils, the researchers found that the most promising catalysts for guaiacol deoxygenation are comprised of molybdenum metal on a carbon support.

The diversity of sources of waste biomass means that there is great variability in the content of the bio-oils produced by the initial heat treatment, which is itself the subject of much research. Guaiacol provides, in a single and easily available compound, the types of oxygen-containing functional groups that typically need to be removed.

Catalysts for the related process of desulfurization are widely used in petroleum refineries to produce cleaner fuels, but they are not optimized for deoxygenation. “The desulfurization catalysts are well developed and understood because of extensive research into the mechanisms by which they work,” explains Chang. “We are using guaiacol as a model compound to develop a similar level of understanding for deoxygenation.”

The best catalysts identified by the researchers show complete conversion of guaiacol and over 80 per cent selectivity to the desired hydrocarbon products within minutes.

Chang and co-workers undertook a detailed study of the structure of the catalysts before and during the reaction, as well as of the catalysts that were deactivated. They also attempted to identify the reaction process — in particular, the types of oxygen-containing functional groups that react first and whether this affects the performance of the catalyst.

While catalyst selectivity is critical, other factors such as the activity and stability of the catalyst will prove equally important because of their impact on the economics of the overall process. “There is a long way to go before this complete ‘biomass to fuel’ process can become commercial,” says Chang. “Also, we hope to develop the selectivity even further so that it becomes useful for developing fine chemicals as well as fuels.”

The A*STAR-affiliated researchers contributing to this research are from the Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences

Associated links

Journal information

Chang, J., Danuthai, T., Dewiyanti, S., Wang, C. & Borgna, A. Hydrodeoxygenation of guaiacol over carbon-supported metal catalysts. ChemCatChem 5, 3041–3049 (2013)

A*STAR Research | Research SEA News
Further information:
http://www.a-star.edu.sg
http://www.researchsea.com

Further reports about: A*STAR Chemical Engineering biomass catalyst catalysts compound fuels oxygen-containing

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals
23.08.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht Treating arthritis with algae
23.08.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Treating arthritis with algae

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Witnessing turbulent motion in the atmosphere of a distant star

23.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>