Biojet Production From Hydrocracking of Vegetable Oil
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The development of fuels from alternative and renewable sources to replace commercial petroleum products has been a subject of increasing research in recent years. At present, there are few economically feasible processes to produce jet fuel from plant oils and animal fats, especially with non-sulfided catalysts. In our research, bifunctional catalysts, NiMo/HY carbide and nitride catalysts were developed for hydrocracking of vegetable oils to obtain hydrocarbons in the jet fuel range. Around 2 g of the catalyst was loaded in a BTRS flow reactor and the catalysts were then reduced in a hydrogen flow of 30 mL/min at 450 oC for two hours. The reactor pressure was increased up to 650 psi and the reactions were carried out at the temperature range of 360-450 oC. Quartz beads with a size about 200 μm were used to dilute the catalyst bed (1:1 v/v) to improve the mass and heat transfer. This study is the first application of noble metals and transitional metal carbide/nitride on hydrocracking of soybean oil to produce biofuels. A comparable yield of jet fuel (about 16-20 wt %) was obtained under a much lower pressure (650 psi) compared to about 17wt% kerosene jet yield under 2000 psi over the commercial hydrocracking catalyst. A 20-29 wt% diesel yield was also obtained during the process. Compared with other catalytic cracking processes with vegetable oils, a more stable continuous flow reaction was obtained by using this process.