New Process for Making Biocrude Oil Refinery-Ready

Most biocrude oil is of poor quality due to the presence of 1-6% nitrogen and 10-30% oxygen, depending on the feedstock and production process used. Because of this, refineries are not willing to co-process the biocrude with petroleum crude oils.

Catalytic hydrotreatment using heterogeneous catalysts such as CoMo, NiMo, and Pd/C is widely used to reduce the nitrogen and oxygen content in biocrude oil. But deactivation of these catalysts is a big challenge.

To overcome this challenge, ISTC researchers are: (1) designing and synthesizing a variety of highly active slurry phase catalysts for efficient conversion of biocrude oils; (2) optimizing operating conditions for using these catalysts; (3) studying their deactivation profiles; and (4) demonstrating their effectiveness for converting biocrude oils into various useful hydrocarbons and transportation fuels.

These upgraded bio-oils will potentially produce sustainable aviation fuels with a reduced carbon footprint and will be of interest to the airline industries, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Air Force.

This project was funded by the Illinois Hazardous Waste Research Fund.