Major Advisor: Foster Agblevor
Substantial research is being conducted within the field of bio-energy in order to find alternative replacements to traditional fossil fuels. Among the technologies available, pyrolysis presents a promising technique for the conversion of biomass into liquid hydrocarbons. Pyrolysis is a thermochemical decomposition of organic materials at elevated temperatures in the absence of oxidizing agent. The pyrolysis oils have several challenges associated with using them as transportation fuels such as high acidity and low energy content. Thus, further processing is required to upgrade the bio-oil to hydrocarbon fuel. Generally, removal of oxygen from bio-oil is essential to improve the fuel properties.
The objective of my research is to study the hydrodeoxygenation of biomass-derived pyrolysis oil to produce high quality hydrocarbon fuels. During hydrodeoxygenation of the bio-oil, oxygen is removed in the form of water. The organic liquid produced from hydrodeoxygenation had improved properties including high heating value, significantly low acidity, very low oxygen content, and promising stability. The main goals of my research are to develop new hydrodeoxygenation catalysts, optimize the hydrodeoxygenation reaction parameters, compare the quality of different hydrotreated bio-oils derived from different feedstocks, and determine the mechanism of hydrodeoxygenation reactions.