Bioethanol is currently produced primarily by fermentation of sugars, an expensive and energy intensive process. Gasification of biomass to synthesis gas (H2/CO), followed by catalytic conversion of syngas, could produce significant amounts of fuel grade C2-C4 alcohols that can be blended in gasoline. However, the catalytic conversion of syngas to higher alcohols still remains challenging and no commercial process exists today. R&D achievements necessary to make this process viable include the development of improved active and selective C2-C4 alcohol synthesis catalysts operating at mild conditions, the elucidation of the reaction mechanism and kinetics via advanced mechanistic and micro kinetic studies and the exploration of different engineering routes and advanced reactor configuration concepts. The main objective of the proposed project is to design a novel generic catalyst for the hydrogenation of CO to C2-C4 alcohols, operating at moderate pressures, using syngas from biomass gasification as feedstock. This technical goal is proposed to be achieved by closely linking material synthesis with advanced surface characterization to identify the nature of the active sites and kinetic and mechanistic characterization of the reaction routes. The environmental impact of the envisaged developed catalytic process will be analyzed via Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) and benchmarked against emerging technologies for 2nd generation cellulosic ethanol production.
The execution of this project by the applicant will aid in her re-integration in the host organization, CERTH, and will lead to new know-how and technology based on the skills acquired by the applicant during her previous MC mobilization period. The project will enhance the skills and experience of the research fellow, contributing to a long-term career development in research.
Fields of science
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