Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics


Location: Sustainable Biofuels and Co-products Research

2013 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
To provide research experience to the scientists at the Laboratory of Chemical Processes (LPQ) research group and that of the Pilot Plants Area (PPI) of Embrapa Agroenergy pertaining to the development of biomass pyrolysis technologies with the goal of obtaining: (1) bio-oil with stable properties that meet boiler fuel or refinable crude oil specifications, from which a range of products can be obtained through different processing routes; (2) biochar co-product with potential application to soil amendment; (3) non-condensable gas product with the potential to supply energy to the process through its combustion and also for heat or electricity. Additional objective is to build capacity for the expansion of Embrapa Agroenergy’s research structure as applied to the development of biomass thermochemical processes as well as to the conversion of products, byproducts and wastes into high value added products. Additionally, Embrapa Agronergy seeks to promote the establishment and consolidation of scientific and technical partnership between Embrapa Agroenergy and the Eastern Regoinal Research Center (ARS/USDA) for future complementary projects.

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Scientists from Embrapa Agroenergy will be stationed at the ARS lab in Wyndmoor, PA and carry out multi-phase research on the conversion of biomass via pyrolysis including thermal (non-catalytic) pyrolysis, catalytic pyrolysis and pyrolysis oil upgrading to fungible fuels. Feedstock for these studies will come from Brazilian biomass resources including woody biomass from Brazilian forest reserves for example eucalyptus, agricultural residues such as sugarcane bagasse and others. Pyrolysis conversion approach will begin with analytical characterization, followed by pilot scale production of pyrolysis liquids following ARS catalytic and non-catalytic technologies. The products will be analyzed for stability and utility as fungible fuel. Bio-oil produced will be further upgraded to infrastructure ready transportation fuel blendstocks. Scale-up and commercialization of these technologies based on the Brazilian feedstock will be explored using ASPEN simulations and techno-economic analyses.

3. Progress Report:
Studies on eucalyptus and sugarcane trash biomass pyrolysis have begun. Characterizations of the biomass and analytical pyrolysis (py-GC/MS) studies have been done of various varieties of these biomass sources. Several pilot scale runs on eucalyptus biomass have been completed utilizing the ERRC 3 kg/h pyrolysis PDU. These studies including those using traditional pyrolysis and also those with a recycle gas atmosphere, a patent pending ARS technology for producing deoxygenated pyrolysis oils.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 10/19/2017
Footer Content Back to Top of Page