The fate of bio-carbon in FCC co-processing products

French scientists have investigated the mechanisms involved in producing mixed bio/fossil fuels and the fate of the bio-carbon during the process.

In order to meet the regulation constraints for transportation fuels set by the European Commission, a promising solution is to produce mixed bio/fossil fuels by co-processing biomass pyrolysis oil with crude oil fractions (obtained from distillation in a standard oil refinery).  In previous work, Yves Schuurman and colleagues from the University of Lyon, France, showed that gasoline could be produced by co-processing hydrodeoxygenated pyrolysis oil with conventional vacuum gas oil in a lab-scale fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) unit.  However, up till now, accurate determination of the proportion of renewable molecules in the target product to be commercialised, i.e. gasoline, has not be preformed, but is very important for technical and marketing reasons. 

In this work, the Carbon-14 (14C) method was used to determine bio-carbon content in FCC products.  While fossil fuel is virtually 14C-free, biofuels contain the present-day ‘natural’ levels of 14C.  The results from this study have given valuable information on the co-processing mechanism, and the authors show that co-processing bio-oil with fossil fuel resources leads to bio-carbon impoverished gasoline but bio-carbon enriched liquefied petroleum gas.

This article is free to access until 3rd May 2012!  Click on the link below to find out more…

The fate of bio-carbon in FCC co-processing products, Gabriella Fogassy, Nicolas Thegarid, Yves Schuurman and Claude Mirodatos, Green Chem., 2012, DOI: 10.1039/C2GC35152H

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