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Thermochemical Process Integration, Scale-Up, and Piloting

Our mission is to integrate, scale-up, and demonstrate biomass conversion technologies developed at the laboratory scale to an industrially relevant pilot scale.

 

Full Publications List


Flow diagram describing the major steps in three primary thermochemical pathways. The figure starts with a photo of a forest labeled "Biomass". The purple arrows of "Gasification" lead to "Syngas," represented by spheres of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, then to "Gas Cleanup, Solids Removal, Reforming, and Gas Scrubbing," and then on to "Fuel Synthesis" and finally "Fuels," represented by a gasoline dispenser nozzle. A green arrow of "Fast Pyrolysis" and blue arrows for "Catalytic Pyrolysis" lead to "Pyrolysis Oil," represented by a flask with brown liquid, then on to "Upgrading, Hot Gas Filtering, Vapor Phase Upgrading, Hydrotreating, and Distillation," and finally to "Fuels," represented by a gasoline dispenser nozzle

Variety of Pathways

Our pilot-scale systems are capable of testing multiple biomass-to-fuels and chemical pathways including gasification, fast pyrolysis, catalytic fast pyrolysis, and vapor phase upgrading. Our systems are flexible, allowing for modifications based on new technologies and research areas. To learn more about our systems, see Thermal and Catalytic Process Development Unit.

Condensation chain engineered for closed collection of upgraded chemical compounds.

Engineering and Scaled Design

Our engineers work with researchers, consultants, and partners to design reactors and other unit operations to overcome scaling effects and provide innovative solutions. Using our pilot-scale facilities, we can install and test the designs under real operating conditions.

A female operator in a hard hat and lab coat controlling the system and performing char system maintenance.

Technology Demonstrations

We demonstrate the current state-of-technology at the pilot scale and provide operational data for use in techno-economic analysis. In 2017, we will demonstrate three thermochemical pathways: (1) syngas upgrading to high-octane fuels and fuel additives, (2) fast pyrolysis followed by hydrotreating, and (3) pyrolysis vapor phase upgrading.

Illustration of the key areas that are included in the technology integration, shown by six puzzle pieces that are varying shades of green with varying textures. The pieces are labeled "Technology," "TEA," "Characterization," "Biomass," "Engineering," and "Catalysts."

Technology Integration

We work closely with the lab-scale researchers to integrate their work together and provide real-world testing conditions for their feedstock, catalyst, and other discoveries. Data collected from pilot-scale testing is then provided back to the lab-scale research to inform future developments.


Research Team

Three side-by-side photos of small groups of people: on the left seven men and women stand in front of a wall with bioenergy images; in the middle a group of six men and women stand in front of a Davison Circulating Riser in a facility; and on the right a group of eight men and women in hard hats stand in front a set of tanks, tubes, and pipes in NRELs Thermochemical Process Development Unit

Principal Investigators

Photo of Danny Carpenter

Danny Carpenter

Supervisor — Thermochemical Process R&D

Email | 303-384-6709

Photo of Kristiina Iisa

Kristiina Iisa

Senior Engineer

Email | 303-384-7853

Photo of Kim Magrini

Kim Magrini

Catalysis and Thermochemical Sciences Group Manager, Principal Scientist

Email | 303-384-7706

Photo of David Robichaud

David Robichaud

Senior Scientist

Email | 303-384-7790

Photo of Dan Ruddy

Dan Ruddy

Inorganic and Materials Chemist, Senior Scientist

Email | 303-384-6322

Photo of Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith

Thermochemical Process Design Engineer

Email | 303-384-7877

Stuart Black

Chris Golubieski

Ray Hansen

Matt Oliver

Kellene Orton

Scott Palmer

Brady Peterson

Marc Pomeroy

Glenn Powell

Mike Sprague

Alex Stanton

Rebecca Jackson

Collaborators

BP

Equilibrium Catalysts

Idaho National Laboratory

Johnson Matthey

Nexceris

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Particulate Solid Research Inc.

Springs Fabrication

WR Grace

Zeton