(61d) Catalytic Conversion of Lignocellulosic Feedstock to Hydrocarbon Fuels
Hydrocarbon fuels are composed of a complex mixture of aromatic, cyclic, and open-chain molecules. However, current thermal methods from lignocellulose result in primarily aromatic products (FP, HTL) and routes to paraffinic and isoparaffinic fuel blend stocks are lacking. Existing pathways to open-chain fuel components suffer from limited feedstocks (lipids). Catalytic conversions of lignocellulosic feeds could produce paraffins and isoparaffins, but ash in the feedstocks fouls catalysts and scales reactors during processing. Additionally, routes that maximize carbon utilization and minimize H2 utilization are desired for technically and commercially viable biorefineries to produce liquid transportation fuels and chemicals from biomass. Here we will present data from our work to develop catalytic routes to open-chain hydrocarbon fuels from lignocellulosic feeds. As part of the overall strategy, a process to catalytically convert levulinic acid to hydrocarbons is being developed. In a single process step, levulinic acid is converted to a partially-deoxygenated organic liquid with distillation properties very similar to diesel. In our paper, process optimization steps and products obtained in this work will be discussed in detail.