January 13, 2023
Journal Article

Coprocessing biomass fast pyrolysis and catalytic fast pyrolysis oils with vacuum gas oil in refinery hydroprocessing


Fast pyrolysis and catalytic fast pyrolysis (CFP) have been considered to be promising approaches for converting lignocellulosic biomass into liquid bio-oils followed by upgrading to produce fuel-range hydrocarbon products. Co-processing fast pyrolysis and CFP bio-oils with petroleum feedstocks leverages the existing petroleum refining infrastructure, which reduces Capex for the overall conversion technologies for biomass to fuel and enables fast adoption of the technologies and biofuels. Here, we reported the co-processing of different woody fast pyrolysis and CFP bio-oils with petroleum vacuum gas oil (VGO) at 5-25% bio-oil blending levels over a NiMo sulfide catalyst for mild hydrocracking. The catalyst activities over ~300 hours time on stream, the product yield and properties, and the biogenic carbon content in products are provided. Co-processing of the raw fast pyrolysis bio-oil in our configuration was not successful because the instability of the bio-oil resulted in reactor plugging and bio-oil stabilization by hydrogenation enabled their stable co-processing with VGO, whereas the CFP bio-oil can be co-processed without pretreatment. Simultaneous hydrodesulfurization, hydrodeoxygenation, and hydrocracking reactions occurred during co-processing and no obvious decrease in hydrodesulfurization and hydrocracking conversion of VGO was observed, suggesting the minimal impact of co-processed bio-oils on the reaction of VGO and also the simultaneous conversion of bio-oil and VGO to produce fuel products with much-reduced S and O content. Biogenic carbon content in co-processed products calculated by yield mass balance, together with results from isotopic measurements, indicates high biogenic carbon incorporation into liquid hydrocarbon products. Higher biogenic carbon incorporation into fuel products was observed when co-processing CFP bio-oils than the fast pyrolysis bio-oils and over 90% of carbon in CFP bio-oil was incorporated into liquid hydrocarbon products.

Published: January 13, 2023


Santosa D.M., I.V. Kutnyakov, M.D. Flake, and H. Wang. 2022. Coprocessing biomass fast pyrolysis and catalytic fast pyrolysis oils with vacuum gas oil in refinery hydroprocessing. Energy and Fuels 36, no. 20:12641–12650. PNNL-SA-175776. doi:10.1021/acs.energyfuels.2c02367