HNEI researchers demonstrated a combination of microbial biosynthesis and thermal catalysis in conversion of biomass syngas into bio-oil. HNEI developed a bacterial strain having efficient CO2 reduction with hydrogen. The metabolic products (cell mass) primarily included polyester. The polyester was converted into bio-oil in a thermal reforming catalysed with phosphoric acid. This technology yielded more than 90% conversion of the cell mass and generation of about 60% of bio-oil, comparing favorably with direct thermal cracking of sugarcane bagasse (27% cell mass conversion and generation of about 14% of bio-oil). Building on earlier results researchers tested the process using a solid phosphoric acid as a catalyst. They were able to produce high quality bio-oils, a light gasoline-grade biofuel and a heavy biodiesel-grade biofuel, in a simple one-pot reaction.

Point Person: Jian Yu


Papers & Proceedings