Refinery Upgrading of Hydropyrolysis Oil From Biomass

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Technical Report

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Department of Chemical Engineering


Cellulosic and woody biomass can be converted to bio-oils containing less than 10% oxygen by a hydropyrolysis process. Hydropyrolysis is the first step in Gas Technology Institute’s (GTI) integrated Hydropyrolysis and Hydroconversion IH2®. These intermediate bio-oils can then be converted to drop-in hydrocarbon fuels using existing refinery hydrotreating equipment to make hydrocarbon blending components, which are fully compatible with existing fuels. Alternatively, cellulosic or woody biomass can directly be converted into drop-in hydrocarbon fuels containing less than 0.4% oxygen using the IH2 process located adjacent to a refinery or ethanol production facility. Many US oil refineries are actually located near biomass resources and are a logical location for a biomass to transportation fuel conversion process. The goal of this project was to work directly with an oil refinery partner, to determine the most attractive route and location for conversion of biorenewables to drop in fuels in their refinery and ethanol production network. Valero Energy Company, through its subsidiaries, has 12 US oil refineries and 11 ethanol production facilities, making them an ideal partner for this analysis. Valero is also part of a 50- 50 joint venture with Darling Ingredients called Diamond Green Diesel. Diamond Green Diesel’s production capacity is approximately 11,000 barrels per day of renewable diesel. The plant is located adjacent to Valero’s St Charles, Louisiana Refinery and converts recycled animal fats, used cooking oil, and waste corn oil into renewable diesel. This is the largest renewable diesel plant in the U.S. and has successfully operated for over 2 years For this project, 25 liters of hydropyrolysis oil from wood and 25 liters of hydropyrolysis oils from corn stover were produced. The hydropyrolysis oil produced had 4-10% oxygen. Metallurgical testing of hydropyrolysis liquids was completed by Oak Ridge National Laboratories (Oak Ridge) and showed the hydropyrolysis oils had low acidity and caused almost no corrosion in comparison to pyrolysis oils, which had high acidity and caused significant levels of corrosion.

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