The aim of the project is to produce petroleum-type liquid hydrocarbons from solid biomass in a one-step, aqueous, closed pyrolysis process.
The project is based on experience acquired during use of high-pressure pyrolysis for simulating natural petroleum generation processes from solid organic matter, and aims to optimize comparable reactions for biomass feeds by pyrolysis in the presence of water. The optimal product should resemble a light crude oil, and contain a large proportion of hydrocarbons. A complete breakdown of the organic molecules into gas-phase components comprising synthesis gas (CO, CO2, H2) and a subsequent polymerisation through Fischer-Tropsch type reactions is a possible pathway for production of high value products, and it is an aim to try to maximize such reactions relative to simple cracking processes which give high yields of oxygen containing tars. Biomass characterisation by analytical pyrolysis, NMR and conventional biochemical analysis will be used to investigate the hydrocarbon potentials and limiting factors of mixed biomasses for generating liquid fuels. A predictive model based on the compositional analysis will be developed using multivariate calibration on the hydrous pyrolysis yields of representative samples sets. The characterisation will also be used to select samples suitable for microbial preprocessing, either by biochemical transformations of the molecular compositions or through transformation of biodegradable substrates into microbial biomass.
The development of the hydrous pyrolysis method is combined with a mapping of the resource basis to identify optimal biomass types for exploitation, both in economic and resource perspectives.
The potential for surplus agricultural and forestry biomass to contribute on a significant scale to the European energy supply will be analyzed in the perspective of possible changes in the framework conditions, and the experimental work focused on biomass types with high valorisation potentials. Upscaling of the optimal process to pilot plant scale, evaluation of technology, environmental risk and economy of a full scale production is included in the project.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
NE1 7RU Newcastle Upon Tyne