Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Catalytic upgrade: Better and cheaper renewable biofuels

Date:
May 9, 2014
Source:
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
Summary:
New catalysts to remove oxygenated compounds from bio-derived oils may lead to better and cheaper renewable biofuels. Dwindling crude oil reserves, accompanied by rising prices and environmental concerns, have led to increased interest in the use of renewable fuels. Biofuels produced from waste agricultural or forestry material are particularly desirable because they avoid diverting resources from the production of food crops.

New catalysts to remove oxygenated compounds from bio-derived oils may lead to better and cheaper renewable biofuels.

Related Articles


Dwindling crude oil reserves, accompanied by rising prices and environmental concerns, have led to increased interest in the use of renewable fuels. Biofuels produced from waste agricultural or forestry material are particularly desirable because they avoid diverting resources from the production of food crops.

Oils produced by high-temperature treatment of these waste materials, however, contain a large amount of oxygenated compounds that result in undesirable properties such as high viscosity and corrosiveness.

Now, Jie Chang, Armando Borgna and co-workers from the A*STAR Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences in Singapore describe a series of catalysts that might be used to upgrade these oils by removing the undesirable oxygen-containing functional groups1. Using the compound guaiacol as a model for oxygenated bio-derived oils, the researchers found that the most promising catalysts for guaiacol deoxygenation are composed of molybdenum metal on a carbon support.

The diversity of sources of waste biomass means that there is great variability in the content of the bio-oils produced by the initial heat treatment, which is itself the subject of much research. Guaiacol provides, in a single and easily available compound, the types of oxygen-containing functional groups that typically need to be removed.

Catalysts for the related process of desulfurization are widely used in petroleum refineries to produce cleaner fuels, but they are not optimized for deoxygenation. "The desulfurization catalysts are well developed and understood because of extensive research into the mechanisms by which they work," explains Chang. "We are using guaiacol as a model compound to develop a similar level of understanding for deoxygenation."

The best catalysts identified by the researchers show complete conversion of guaiacol and over 80 per cent selectivity to the desired hydrocarbon products within minutes.

Chang and co-workers undertook a detailed study of the structure of the catalysts before and during the reaction, as well as of the catalysts that were deactivated. They also attempted to identify the reaction process -- in particular, the types of oxygen-containing functional groups that react first and whether this affects the performance of the catalyst.

While catalyst selectivity is critical, other factors such as the activity and stability of the catalyst will prove equally important because of their impact on the economics of the overall process. "There is a long way to go before this complete 'biomass to fuel' process can become commercial," says Chang. "Also, we hope to develop the selectivity even further so that it becomes useful for developing fine chemicals as well as fuels."

The A*STAR-affiliated researchers contributing to this research are from the Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jie Chang, Tanate Danuthai, Silvia Dewiyanti, Chuan Wang, Armando Borgna. Hydrodeoxygenation of Guaiacol over Carbon-Supported Metal Catalysts. ChemCatChem, 2013; 5 (10): 3041 DOI: 10.1002/cctc.201300096

Cite This Page:

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). "Catalytic upgrade: Better and cheaper renewable biofuels." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140509131609.htm>.
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). (2014, May 9). Catalytic upgrade: Better and cheaper renewable biofuels. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140509131609.htm
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). "Catalytic upgrade: Better and cheaper renewable biofuels." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140509131609.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) Lava from an active volcano on Hawaii's Big Island slowed slightly but stayed on track to hit a shopping center in the small town of Pahoa. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, thanks in part to something called feedback. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins