Hydrothermal Liquefaction Process Strategy

Process Strategy Summary

Objective: Develop stable bio-oil refinery feedstocks

Lead: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) (Doug Elliott)

Members: Albemarle, Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), BP, Catchlight Energy, Iowa State University (ISU), Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Pall, Tesoro, Washington State University (WSU)

The National Advanced Biofuels Consortium's hydrothermal liquefaction process strategy develops stable bio-oil refinery feedstocks.

Technology Background

Hydrothermal liquefaction entails processing biomass in liquid-phase media at temperatures of 300°–400°C and at pressures fixed by the vapor pressure of the media. In biomass hydrothermal liquefaction, water is usually the medium, and the temperature is held at or below the critical temperature of water (374°C), resulting in a pressure of 2,500–3,000 psi.

Catalysts such as alkali carbonate commonly speed the radical capping and hydrogen transfer reactions. Product oils from hydrothermal liquefaction of biomass have low water content and are lower in oxygen (ca. < 20%) than oils from fast pyrolysis, but they have other undesirable physico-chemical properties such as high viscosity.

Research Approach

The hydrothermal liquefaction process strategy will:

Team Member Roles

The team members will take on the following roles: