Production of Gasoline and Diesel from Biomass via Fast Pyrolysis, Hydrotreating and Hydrocracking: A Design Case

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The purpose of this study is to evaluate a processing pathway for converting biomass into infrastructure-compatible hydrocarbon biofuels. This design case investigates production of fast pyrolysis oil from biomass and the upgrading of that bio-oil as a means for generating infrastructure-ready renewable gasoline and diesel fuels. This study has been conducted using similar methodology and underlying basis assumptions as the previous design cases for ethanol. The overall concept and specific processing steps were selected because significant data on this approach exists in the public literature. The analysis evaluates technology that has been demonstrated at the laboratory scale or is in ... continued below

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Jones, Susanne B.; Valkenburt, Corinne; Walton, Christie W.; Elliott, Douglas C.; Holladay, Johnathan E.; Stevens, Don J. et al. February 25, 2009.

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The purpose of this study is to evaluate a processing pathway for converting biomass into infrastructure-compatible hydrocarbon biofuels. This design case investigates production of fast pyrolysis oil from biomass and the upgrading of that bio-oil as a means for generating infrastructure-ready renewable gasoline and diesel fuels. This study has been conducted using similar methodology and underlying basis assumptions as the previous design cases for ethanol. The overall concept and specific processing steps were selected because significant data on this approach exists in the public literature. The analysis evaluates technology that has been demonstrated at the laboratory scale or is in early stages of commercialization. The fast pyrolysis of biomass is already at an early stage of commercialization, while upgrading bio-oil to transportation fuels has only been demonstrated in the laboratory and at small engineering development scale. Advanced methods of pyrolysis, which are under development, are not evaluated in this study. These may be the subject of subsequent analysis by OBP. The plant is designed to use 2000 dry metric tons/day of hybrid poplar wood chips to produce 76 million gallons/year of gasoline and diesel. The processing steps include: 1.Feed drying and size reduction 2.Fast pyrolysis to a highly oxygenated liquid product 3.Hydrotreating of the fast pyrolysis oil to a stable hydrocarbon oil with less than 2% oxygen 4.Hydrocracking of the heavy portion of the stable hydrocarbon oil 5.Distillation of the hydrotreated and hydrocracked oil into gasoline and diesel fuel blendstocks 6. Hydrogen production to support the hydrotreater reactors. The "as received" feedstock to the pyrolysis plant will be "reactor ready". This development will likely further decrease the cost of producing the fuel. An important sensitivity is the possibility of co-locating the plant with an existing refinery. In this case, the plant consists only of the first three steps: feed prep, fast pyrolysis, and upgrading. Stabilized, upgraded pyrolysis oil is transferred to the refinery for separation and finishing into motor fuels. The off-gas from the hydrotreaters is also transferred to the refinery, and in return the refinery provides lower-cost hydrogen for the hydrotreaters. This reduces the capital investment. Production costs near $2/gal (in 2007 dollars) and petroleum industry infrastructure-ready products make the production and upgrading of pyrolysis oil to hydrocarbon fuels an economically attractive source of renewable fuels. The study also identifies technical areas where additional research can potentially lead to further cost improvements.

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  • Report No.: PNNL-18284 Rev. 1
  • Grant Number: AC05-76RL01830
  • DOI: 10.2172/950728 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 950728
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc929532

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  • February 25, 2009

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Nov. 30, 2016, 6:29 p.m.

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Jones, Susanne B.; Valkenburt, Corinne; Walton, Christie W.; Elliott, Douglas C.; Holladay, Johnathan E.; Stevens, Don J. et al. Production of Gasoline and Diesel from Biomass via Fast Pyrolysis, Hydrotreating and Hydrocracking: A Design Case, report, February 25, 2009; Richland, Washington. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc929532/: accessed May 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.