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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania » Eastern Regional Research Center » Sustainable Biofuels and Co-products Research » Research » Research Project #441443

Research Project: Advancing the Understanding of Pyrolysis Oil Chemistry and Products Development

Location: Sustainable Biofuels and Co-products Research

Project Number: 8072-41000-112-002-N
Project Type: Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jul 1, 2022
End Date: Dec 31, 2023

Bio-oil is an important biorefinery platform feedstock produced via fast pyrolysis of biomass. However, these are complex oils containing thousands of compounds. Although the composition of the monomers is well known, knowledge of the chemical composition of the oligomeric fraction which represent up to 40 wt. % of the composition of these oils is still lacking. In order to better utilize bio-oil in biorefineries and produce high value bioproducts, a better understanding of the structures and compositions of these fractions of bio-oil should be known. In the last two years the cooperator has made significant progress proposing tentative structures of some bio-oil oligomers using mass spectrometry techniques. This has allowed for development of improved bio-oil models which can be used to predict solubility, boiling points and other properties which will be key for development of separation processes. The objectives of this research will be to: (1) Fractionate bio-oils produced at ARS using methods modified from those developed by the cooperator, (2) Characterize these fractions methods using ARS resources included mass spectroscopy and NMR facility, (3) Estimate chemical and colloidal properties of bio-oil and (4) identify potential products that can be produced from bio-oil and its oligomeric fractions

Biomass pyrolysis oils produced at ARS will be subjected to separation procedures informed by chromatographic methods developed at Washington State University. The fractions obtained will be characterized by a variety of analytical methods including mass spectrometry (MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). Additional chromatographic and/or other separation methods may be applied as necessary for target application, and as necessary to identify oligomeric molecules found in the pyrolysis oil. Then we then use various methods to develop bio products from these molecules, including but not limited to bio-lubricants and polymers.