The production of renewable chemicals and biofuels must be cost- and performance- competitive with petroleum-derived equivalents to be widely accepted by markets and society. We propose a biomass conversion strategy that maximizes the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass (up to 80% of the biomass to useful products) into high-value products that can be commercialized, providing the opportunity for successful translation to an economically viable commercial process. Our fractionation method preserves the value of all three primary components: (i) cellulose, which is converted into dissolving pulp for fibers and chemicals production; (ii) hemicellulose, which is converted into furfural (a building block chemical); and (iii) lignin, which is converted into carbon products (carbon foam, fibers, or battery anodes), together producing revenues of more than $500 per dry metric ton of biomass. Once de-risked, our technology can be extended to produce other renewable chemicals and biofuels.
Production of renewable alcohols from maple wood using supercritical methanol hydrodeoxygenation in a semi-continuous flowthrough reactor
Biomass conversion to alcohols using supercritical methanol depolymerization and hydrodeoxygenation (SCM-DHO) with CuMgAl mixed metal oxide is a promising process for biofuel production. We demonstrate how maple wood can be converted at high weight loadings and product concentrations in a batch and a semi-continuous reactor to a mixture of C 2 –C 10 linear and cyclic alcohols. Maple wood was solubilized semi-continuously in supercritical methanol and then converted to a mixture of C 2 –C 9 alcohols and aromatics over a packed bed of CuMgAlO x catalyst. Up to 95 wt% of maple wood can be solubilized in the methanol by using four temperature holds at 190, 230, 300, and 330 °C. Lignin was solubilized at 190 and 230 °C to a mixture of monomers, dimers, and trimers while hemicellulose and cellulose solubilized at 300 and 330 °C to a mixture of oligomeric sugars and liquefaction products. The hemicellulose, cellulose, and lignin were converted to C 2 –C 10 alcohol fuel precursors over a packed bed of CuMgAlO x catalyst with 70–80% carbon yield of the entire maple wood. The methanol reforming activity of the catalyst decreased by 25% over four beds of biomass, which corresponds to 5 turnovers for more »
- Award ID(s):
- Publication Date:
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Journal Name:
- Green Chemistry
- Page Range or eLocation-ID:
- 8462 to 8477
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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