PDC and partners patent new class of aviation biofuel components

April 23, 2014 |

In the Netherlands, as a part of the European Union funded EuroBioRef1 project, together with several partners, Process Design Center (PDC) developed a new class of bio aviation turbine fuel (ATF) components consisting of heavy branched alcohols. The project demonstrated the possibility to produce these alcohols in two ways from lignocellulosic biomass:

Black liquor from a kraft pulp mill or biomass is gasified and the resulting syngas, after cleaning, is fed to a mixed higher alcohols synthesis unit. Two processes, one operating in the gas phase and one operating in the liquid phase, are then applied to increase the carbon number of the alcohols.

Butanol is produced by fermentation of sugar hydrolysates. The resulting butanol is further processed in the liquid phase to obtain heavier alcohols.

The relevant performance properties of the product (e.g., energy content, lubricity, fluidity, non- corrosivity, electrical conductivity, cleanliness) were measured and the combustion characteristics (including flame stability, temperature profile of the flame, flow field) were experimentally evaluated. Additionally, aspects of safety have been investigated (reaction between fuel/flame and engine parts). More than a ton of heavy branched alcohols was produced in the project, which allowed a series of turbine engine tests confirming their suitability as an ATF additive, measuring performance and emission characteristics. The invention has been patented by EuroBioRef partners PDC, ARKEMA, OBR Joint Stock Company and WSK “PZL-Rzeszow”.

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