Development of processes and catalysts for producing biofuels from renewable sources

Lead partner: Max Planck Institute

The overarching objective of this WP is the lab-scale development of catalysts and processes for a high-yield (>70%, carbon basis) production of a biosyngas-derived and EN590-compliant diesel fuel blend containing a preset fraction of C6-C11 alcohols. More specifically, this part has the following objectives:

  • To develop a new generation of Fischer-Tropsch synthesis solid catalysts based on cobalt as the major active phase and which jointly display the following catalytic features when applied in a once-through process for the conversion of bio-syngas (H2/CO≈1-1.7) under steady and technically-relevant conditions (T=200±30°C, P=20±10 bar, CO conversion >60% per pass) in microstructured, compact reactors: (i) high mass- and volume-specific activity (>3.5 mol CO·gcat·h-1, and >1.8 mol CO·cm3cat·h-1), (ii) essentially no activity for the water-gas-shift reaction (selectivity to CO2 < 2%), (iii) high hydrocarbon chain-growth probability (>0.85) and (iv) high selectivity to C5-C10 α-olefins (>25% in the condensable hydrocarbon products), (iv) upscalable and mechanically compliant when conformed as microparticles (<200 μm) for on-loading/off-loading into/from a microchannel reactor technology (WP4). Said catalyst  formulation will be delivered to task 2.2 by M18.
  • To identify optimal FT catalyst and process conditions for maximising the production of C5-C10 FT olefins ―in an ideal case the share of C5-C10 olefins could reach about 30 wt-% of the whole FT-product or 60 wt-% of the condensable C5+ product fraction― and to assess the long-term (>200 h) lab-scale performance processing a bio-syngas feedstream with a realistic composition, including major inert gases and impurities. Optimal materials and FT process conditions will be delivered to WP4 by M28.
  • To develop a HF process for the complex olefin mixture coming from the FT process a robust while selective catalyst system will investigated taking economic considerations like metal prices into account. The selectivity of the HF-process will be adapted to the need of WP3. The turn over frequency (TOF) of the catalyst system must be above 2000 h-1. A suitable catalyst recycling for the homogenous catalyst system will be developed with a threshold for the total turnover number (mole of alcohol product per unit mole of metal in catalyst) of at least 100,000. The suitable reactor setup for optimal reaction performance will be delivered to WP4 together with catalyst system and recycling strategy.

  1. Report on ready hydroformylation (HF) catalyst system [MPI – Sep 2019]
    Choice of one catalyst system after evaluation on differnet catalyst systems.
  2. Formulation and synthesis route for a solid, cobalt-based microparticulate Fischer-Tropsch catalyst  [CSIC – Mar 2020]
    Report describing in detail the chemical formulation and the synthesis route to prepare a cobalt-based catalyst identified as optimal for the olefin-selective Fischer-Tropsch process step, alongside a set of preferred operation conditions (temperature, pressure, gas-space velocity). The report includes reaction results obtained in lab-scale tests.
  3. Report on working recycling system for hydroformylation (HF) Catalyst [MPI – Mar 2020]
    Choice of one catalyst recycling approach for the chosen catalyst system.
  4. Reactor design for hydroformylation (HF) [MPI – Sep 2020]
    Dedicated reactor design for the envisoned two phasic reaction.
  5. Fischer-Tropsch (FT) catalyst benchmarking results and optimal Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process specifications  [VTT – Mar 2021]
    Report on catalyst tests at lab scale unit.