Using Furfural as an Intermediate for Making Gasoline, Jet and Diesel Fuel Components
Tuesday, April 29, 2014: 8:25 AM
Grand Ballroom A-C, lobby level (Hilton Clearwater Beach)
David K. Johnson1, Stuart K. Black2, Xiaowen Chen3, Luc Moens2 and Melvin P. Tucker2, (1)Biosciences Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO, (2)National Bioenergy Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO, (3)National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO
To transform biomass into components compatible with hydrocarbon fuels it is clear there are two main transformations that need to occur, deoxygenation and carbon chain extension.  Deoxygenation is necessary to increase energy content and to compatibilize the components with existing petroleum-derived fuels.  Chain extension is needed to convert intermediates derived from biomass, such as five and six carbon sugars, into components with the correct boiling range for blending with specific fuels.  Through these transformations it becomes possible to produce drop-in fuels that are transparent to the consumer, have unlimited blendability, and can utilize existing infrastructure for storage and transportation. 

The development of chemical transformation routes that efficiently convert biomass-derived intermediates into products that are compatible with the existing fuel infrastructure, which fit within the specifications for gasoline, jet and diesel fuels, is currently an area of intense research interest.  The potential routes for decreasing the oxygen content of biomass intermediates include dehydration, hydrodeoxygenation and decarboxylation.  Furfural is a well known product of the dehydration of xylose and other five carbon sugars, and could become a critical intermediate for production of components that can be blended with petroleum-derived fuels.  This paper will review recent advances leading to increases in furfural yield, the conversion of furfural into the gasoline blending component, methyl furan, chain extension reactions to produce intermediates for jet and diesel fuels, and their conversion to hydrocarbons.