Production of biofuels and chemicals via Ni-Cu catalyzed hydrodeoxygenation of furfural and its aldol condensates

01 November 2019 → 31 October 2023
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Engineering and technology
    • Biological energy
    • Heterogeneous catalysis
    • Chemical kinetics and thermodynamics
    • Sustainable and environmental engineering not elsewhere classified
Project description

Due to the depletion of fossil resources and the environmental concerns about the use of these feedstocks, it is important to investigate the exploitation of alternatives, preferably of a renewable origin. Lignocellulose is a widely available type of biomass that does not compete with the food industry and can be converted into jet and diesel fuels as well as chemicals via a route that includes aldol condensation and hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) reactions. Although biomass-derived molecules are chemically very different from petroleum-based ones, the present generation of HDO catalysts are still based on the ones used in the petroleum industry. This project proposal aims to replace these catalysts by innovative Ni-Cu catalysts specifically designed for renewable components. It is expected to lead to an increased catalytic activity, a lower energy demand of the process, a better steering towards the desired product spectrum as well as a reduced cost of the final products. Secondly, a simulation tool will be developed that can provide guidelines on the necessary feedstock purity as well as which catalyst and reaction conditions that needs to be used to efficiently produce a product that meets specifications imposed based on the market demands.