Electrochemical reduction produces cleaner products from bio-crude

September 20, 2020 |

In Washington, a new review by researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory offer a solution to capture unused materials like sewage, food waste and wood chips: mini-refineries located near waste sources that process biomass using electrochemical reduction reactions powered by renewable energy and found that electrochemical reduction produces cleaner products from bio-crude.

Well-known electrochemical reduction reactions are one path toward milder conditions needed for energy-efficient mini-refineries. In these reactions, electricity and a metal catalyst, rather than hydrogen gas and heat, propel the molecular transformations. Other molecules in the mixture can also be simultaneously scavenged to provide hydrogen atoms during the reaction.

Compared to thermochemical reduction with hydrogen gas, electrochemical reductions of specific molecules in bio-oil can happen faster without increasing the reaction temperature and produce fewer byproducts. This means that fewer purification steps are needed later in production, which improves the energy efficiency of the whole process.

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Category: Fuels

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