Sunday, April 29, 2007

Analysis and identification of gaps in fundamental research for the production of second generation liquid transportation biofuels

Larry Russo, Office of the Biomass Program, U. S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy EE-2E, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20585 and Michael R. Ladisch, Lorre/abe, Purdue University, Potter Engineering Center, 500 Central Drive, West Lafayette, IN 57866.

A global view is needed to solve global challenges in sustaining our transportation system and the supplies of fuels needed to power the system.  This paper reports the work of experts from within the IEA to better understand how the integration of thermally- derived liquid fuels from biomass, cellulose ethanol, and syngas-derived liquids may play a role in future energy scenarios.  This analysis builds upon current efforts of other tasks within the IEA and attempts to help to identify questions that need to be asked to obtain second generation fuels.  Research and development is part of the answer, but translational efforts that put the biomolecules into the fuel tank are also needed.  These translational technologies may involve chemical, thermal, biochemical, and/or biological processing, and would apply to a range of feedstocks.  This paper addresses barriers, trends, and gaps in the production and use of lignocellulosic ethanol, P-series fuel, liquid Fischer Tropsch (FT) fuels, or dimethyl ether (DME), from synthesis gas and upgraded pyrolysis bio-oils.  P-series fuels are a blend of methyl-tetrahydrofuran, ethanol, and natural gas condensates (C4 to C5).  A comparison is discussed and gaps identified in the technologies that may be needed to bring these fuels to market.