(79b) Looped Oxide Catalysis: The Prospect of Bio-Oil Deoxygenation Over Reduced Metal Oxides
AIChE Annual Meeting
Monday, November 4, 2013 - 8:45am to 9:00am
One of the key challenges in the production of liquid transportation fuels from biomass is the necessary upgrading of biomass derivatives to reduce the total oxygen content. Hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) of biomass fast-pyrolysis and liquefaction bio-oils with renewably-sourced H2 represents a promising carbon-neutral fuel production pathway. However, HDO processing is limited by requisite high pressures and by the destruction of chemical exergy during the reaction of H2 with easily-reduced oxygenate compounds. As an alternative to HDO, we propose a two-step thermochemical cycle wherein a metal oxide is reduced to its metal or to a lower-valence oxide in a high-temperature solar furnace and subsequently reacted with a bio-oil feedstock, reforming the higher oxide and yielding a deoxygenated fuel product. This process, which we have termed “looped oxide catalysis” (LOC), synthesizes concepts from the fields of solar thermochemical hydrogen production, chemical looping, and hydroprocessing and may allow for low-pressure deoxygenation of bio-oil while achieving high exergy efficiency. From a set of eighty possible LOC catalysts we have identified five most promising candidates on the basis of known diffusion kinetics, catalytic activity in HDO reactions, and metal-oxygen bond strength. Oxides with low metal-oxygen bond strength will be unable to abstract oxygen from bio-oil oxygenates, while oxides with high metal-oxygen bond strength will require excess energy to reduce. Therefore oxides with intermediate metal-oxygen bond strength are most desirable; this behavior is illustrated in a thermodynamic “volcano plot.” An exergy analysis of the LOC cycle is developed for the five candidate oxides to identify inherent system losses. Additionally, data from preliminary experiments in a continuous-flow reactor with the identified candidate LOC catalysts will be presented.