Tag Archives: biofuels

Bioenergy seminar: New Catalytic Approaches for the Production of Renewable Fuels and Chemicals

Seminar hosted by the Department of Energy and Environmental Systems and the NSF CREST Bioenergy Center:

Title: Process Development and Design of New Catalytic Approaches for the Production of Renewable Fuels and Chemicals

Where and when: Thursday, February 6, 11 a.m. to noon, New Science Building, Room 200

All EES CREST and Sustainable Bioproducts students must attend this seminar.  Others are welcome as well to hear this accomplished catalysis engineer and scientist.

Dr. George W. Huber

Huber

Speaker: Dr. George W. Huber, Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Huber’s research focus is on breaking the chemical and engineering barriers to lignocellulosic biofuels.  He is the co-founder of Anellotech, a biofuel company focused on commercializing catalytic fast pyrolysis, a new technology developed by Dr. Huber’s research group to convert biomass into gasoline-range aromatics.  His discovery of Raney-NiSn catalyst for hydrogen production from biomass-derived oxygenates was named as one of top 50 technology breakthroughs of 2003 by Scientific American.

Abstract: This presentation discuss different approaches for the production of renewable fuels and chemicals that are being developed in the Huber research group.  The presentation will highlight some of the challenges and future opportunities for future process development and design of new catalytic approaches.

Renewable aromatics and olefins can be produced from biomass by catalytic fast pyrolysis (CFP). The aromatics can be used as a feedstock to make renewable polymers including polycarbonates, polyurethanes, polystyrenes, and polyethylene terephthalates.

CFP involves the direct production of aromatics from biomass in a single catalytic step. Solid biomass is fed into a fluidized bed reactor, where the solid biomass thermally decomposes. The biomass vapors enter a zeolite catalyst, where a series of dehydration, decarbonylation and oligomerization reactions occur to form aromatics, olefins, CO, CO2, coke and water. Coke is formed from homogeneous decomposition reactions or catalytic reactions inside the zeolite.

Fundamental catalytic studies with model compounds combined with in-situ and temperature-programmed techniques have aided in the design of improved zeolite catalysts for CFP. Hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) is a platform technology used to convert liquid biomass feedstocks (including aqueous carbohydrates, pyrolysis oils, and aqueous enzymatic products) into alkanes, alcohols and polyols. In this process the biomass feed reacts with hydrogen to produce water and a deoxygenated product using a bifunctional catalyst that contains both metal and acid sites. The challenge with HDO is to selectively produce targeted products that can be used as fuel blendstocks or chemicals and to decrease the hydrogen consumption.

More progress on biofuels: A&T, JSNN to host conference on civic and small-scale production

Some government agencies and businesses aren’t waiting for the energy industry to start delivering on the promise of biofuels. Increasingly, in North Carolina and other states, they’re moving ahead on their own.

Their progress will be the subject of the second annual statewide conference on civic and small-scale biofuel projects, to be held next month at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering.

The event is organized by the Biofuels Center of North Carolina and is hosted by N.C. A&T and the Joint School.  It will feature talks and case studies on smaller-scale biofuel and biomass production projects operating in North Carolina (including Charlotte, Hickory, and Raleigh), Florida, and Alabama.

Speakers will include officials of state and local government agencies, the private sector, and universities.

The conference will be held Thursday December 13, beginning at 10 a.m. It will conclude with a 3 p.m. tour of biofuel and bioproduct research and development projects at the JSNN.  There is no fee to attend.  Registration information and the full agenda are at the conference website.

The full title of the event is “Civic and Small-scale Biofuels Statewide: A Second Annual Convening of Civic, Production, and Agency Parties.”

Worth noting: Some places aren’t quite ready to move on such opportunities. A local case in point is reported in today’s edition of the News & Record.