(576c) Production of Green Diesel through Catalytic Cracking of Phospholipids | AIChE

(576c) Production of Green Diesel through Catalytic Cracking of Phospholipids


Dufreche, S. - Presenter, Mississippi State University
Hernandez, R. - Presenter, Mississippi State University
French, T. - Presenter, Mississippi State University
White, M. - Presenter, Mississippi State University

With crude oil prices breaking record highs every week the need for alternative renewable fuels is greater than ever. Presently, biodiesel and ethanol are commercially available renewable fuels capable of displacing a small fraction of petroleum from the market. Biodiesel is produced via transesterification of vegetable oils and animal fats. Ethanol is generated by fermenting sugars, mainly from corn. Both of these fuels require new infrastructure to support their growth. Furthermore, these fuels are limited by feedstock inventories. A process to produce a renewable fuel using current refinery infrastructure would accelerate petroleum displacement. One proposed method involves the cracking of lipids to produce non-polar long-chain hydrocarbons, known as Green Diesel. Lipids would be fed into the head of a refinery to a catalytic cracker. The resulting hydrocarbons would continue throughout the plant as if derived from a petroleum source, resulting in an increased fraction of petroleum diesel fuel. This fuel would be chemically identical to conventional diesel fuel, but derived from a clean renewable feedstock.

The paper will describe results of cracking phospholipids with triflic acid (super acid) to determine reaction mechanisms and product composition. The results will be used to assist in the synthesis of heterogeneous catalysts better suited for large-scale production. The paper also will cover the basic theory behind cracking of phospholipids through acid catalysis as well as a description and economics of potential feedstock sources capable of supplying the U.S. with large amounts of green diesel.