(632a) Processing Carbonaceous Feedstock Using Ionic Liquids for Sustainable Carbon Engineering

Authors: 
Li, C., Idaho National Laboratory
Williams, C. L., Idaho National Laboratory
Thomas, B., Idaho National Laboratory
Hu, H., Idaho National Laboratory
Energy security is an important issue for the sustainable development of the global community. The United States faces major energy security challenges due to the high energy demand from residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation sectors, which spur the development of low energy and clean processes that produce fuels and chemicals from domestically available carbon-based feedstocks. Using lignocellulosic biomass to produce biofuels for transportation has emerged as a focus of interest in recent years. Biomass provides a renewable carbon-based source to reduce GHG emissions through the capture of CO2 during photosynthesis, and decrease the reliance on petroleum for the production of both fuels and chemicals. However, biomass conversions to fuels and chemicals also suffer from itsâ?? own set of problems: the distributed nature of biomass resources, low energy density, high cost of transporting sufficient biomass to allow refineries to take advantage of economies of scale.

One promising alternative is to develop a hybrid feedstock system. This hybrid energy system by combining biomass with other carbonaceous feedstocks in a single conversion platform would reduce supply fluctuations, mitigate GHG emissions, and be more politically palatable. However, current research has mostly focused on thermochemical conversion of single type of feedstock at high temperature and elevated pressure, which requires high energy consumption. Developing low energy, environmental benign, feedstock agnostic technologies, is critically important to address concerns of energy security and process economics. Ionic Liquids (ILs) as a class of novel environmental benign solvents are receiving increased attentions. Many researches have focused on ILsâ?? applications in lignocellulosic biomass dissolution for biofuels production, while the work on blending biomass with other feedstock sources to reduce the supply cost and improve the conversion efficiency is limited. This works looks into the feasibility of processing woody biomass mixture with other carbonaceous feedstocks using IL solvents for production of clean energy and high valuable materials. Various types of ILs and feedstocks, and process conditions are investigated. The IL processed carbonaceous materials are further characterized for their compositional, physiochemical and rheological properties changes to advance process optimization and development towards an economic feasible carbon engineering technology by employing wide range of regional feedstocks.