(670b) Catalytic Upgrading of Lignin to Fully Fungible Aviation Fuel
AIChE Annual Meeting
Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 12:55pm to 1:20pm
Production jet fuel from biomass sources with current version of biorefinery infrastructure would significantly improve the total carbon use in biomass and make biomass conversion more economically viable. However, the fundamental hurdles in lignin-to-aviation fuel catalytic conversion process could be surmounted if creative manipulation towards lignin reactivity, catalyst selectivity and enhanced scale of transformation are intervened to the process of creating lignin jet fuel from biomass-derived lignin directly. A novel aqueous catalytic process in which poplar wood lignin is deploymerized to insoluble lignin-derived fragments (>90% recovery yield and >90% purity) then further converted to jet fuel range hydrocarbons is being developed by our team. Notably, 4-out-of-6 major hydrocarbon classes can be directly generated in ideal ratios – 2 had little-to-no previous basis for production via low molecular lignin oligomers. Our ultimate goal is to scale a flexible catalytic process that unfetters access to all major hydrocarbon classes innate to aviation fuel. Insofar, monocyclic aromatics, linear alkanes, cycloalkanes and aliphatics have been produced with desirable carbon lengths (C8-C18), and in tractable ratios. A critical success factor underlying the scalability of this process hinges on its capacity to generate full fungible aviation fuel.