Co-processing of upgraded bio-liquids in standard refinery units - fundamentals

Andrea Gutierrez, Marcelo E. Domine, Yrjö Solantausta

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review


A consortium has been assembled to develop a new bio fuel chain from renewable feeds to transportation fuels. The concept includes a distributed procurement for biomass and centralized upgrading for derived fast pyrolysis liquids. The project is aimed at developing a chain of process steps to allow a range of biomass feedstocks to be co-fed to a conventional oil refinery to produce energy and chemicals. This paper summarises some fundamental issues related to this new concept. Fast pyrolysis liquids, or bio-oils, are complex mixtures of oxygen containing compounds. Their high oxygen content is responsible for high viscosity, poor thermal stability, low heating value and corrosivity. These properties can be improved by partial or total elimination of oxygen and hydrogenation of chemical structures. Hydrodeoxygenation performed at high temperatures and pressures in the presence of a catalyst is proposed as an alternative for upgrading of bio-oils. After upgrading, bio-oils should be co-fed to a conventional refinery. The viability is evaluated by using lab-scale micro tests simulating hydrotreating and catalytic cracking (FCC) units under standard operating conditions. Alumina supported CoMo and NiMo catalysts were tested in the hydrotreating of a straight run gas oil fraction. Total conversion of sulfur compounds was achieved, even in the presence of oxygenated model compounds representative of bio-oil. Preliminary co-processing study was also performed in simulated FCC units. The performance of industrial FCC catalysts was evaluated by feeding model hydrocarbons/oxygenates mixtures. The cracking reaction and the effect of oxygenates is evaluated in terms of hydrocarbon conversion, product distribution, and catalyst stability. Development of these and other unit operations within the overall biofuel chain will continue.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 15th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition 
Publication statusPublished - 2007
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
Event15th European Biomass Conference & Exhibition - Berlin, Germany
Duration: 7 May 200711 May 2007
Conference number: 15


Conference15th European Biomass Conference & Exhibition


  • bio-refinery
  • co-processing
  • biomass
  • pyrolysis oils
  • bio-oils
  • upgrading
  • hydrodeoxygenation
  • hydrotreating
  • sulfided catalysts


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