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A High-Yield Biomass Alternative to Petroleum for Industrial Chemicals

Date: 1.12.2010 


A team of University of Massachusetts Amherst chemical engineers report that they have developed a way to produce high-volume chemical feedstocks including benzene, toluene, xylenes and olefins from pyrolytic bio-oils, the cheapest liquid fuels available today derived from biomass.

Instead of buying petroleum by the barrel, chemical manufacturers will now be able to use relatively cheaper, widely available pyrolysis oils made from waste wood, agricultural waste and non-food energy crops to produce the same high-value materials for making everything from solvents and detergents to plastics and fibers.

Sudolsky, Anellotech's CEO, says, "There are several companies developing technology to produce pyrolysis oil from biomass. The problem has been that pyrolysis oils must be upgraded to be useable. But with the new UMass Amherst process, Anellotech can now convert these pyrolysis oils into valuable chemicals at higher efficiency and with very attractive economics. This is very exciting."

Original Paper:

Tushar P. Vispute, Huiyan Zhang, Aimaro Sanna, Rui Xiao, and George W. Huber. Renewable Chemical Commodity Feedstocks from Integrated Catalytic Processing of Pyrolysis Oils. Science, 26 November 2010: 1222-1227 DOI: 10.1126/science.1194218







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