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Production of Renewable Diesel from Lignocellulosic biomass through Fast pyrolysis and Hydroprocessing Technology

  • Author / Creator
    Patel, Madhumita
  • Increasing environmental concerns, global warming, and greenhouse gas emissions due to fossil fuel use point to an urgent need for clean renewable energy sources that can replace petroleum-derived fuels. Lignocellulosic biomass, a renewable resource, can be converted to bio-oil by fast pyrolysis and further upgraded to renewable diesel through hydroprocessing. Because biomass behaves as if it is carbon neutral, its use does not increase atmospheric greenhouse gases. To conduct fast pyrolysis experiments to produce bio-oil, a stainless steel fluidized bed was fabricated with an internal diameter and height of 10 and 120 cm, respectively. Bio-oil produced through fast pyrolysis cannot replace conventional petro-diesel, however, because it is highly unstable, polar, has a high oxygen content, and is immiscible with hydrocarbon. Therefore, upgrading is necessary as it removes oxygen-containing compounds from bio-oil through the hydrodeoxygenation reaction using hydroprocessing technology. The ultimate product from this process is hydrogenation-derived renewable diesel (HDRD), also known as renewable diesel or green diesel. Renewable diesel is closer in composition to petroleum diesel, has better chemical stability, and can have better cold flow properties than biodiesel (which is another renewable fuel). The main focus of this research is to (1) explore different lignocellulosic biomasses available in Canada, (2) study the thermochemical properties of the above-mentioned biomass, (3) conduct fast pyrolysis experiments to produce bio-oil with different process conditions, (4) develop a process model for a centralized fast pyrolysis and hydroprocessing facility (5) develop a cost model to estimate the renewable diesel cost, and (6) compare how a centralized pyrolysis plant and a decentralized pyrolysis plant produce bio-oil. For every feedstock, a process and techno-economic model is developed using an Aspen Plus® simulation. The production cost is reported in $ /L. Of all the lignocellulosic biomass, woody biomass performed better than agricultural residues in terms of renewable diesel production cost and net energy ratio. The outcomes from this research will be helpful in commercializing and optimizing centralized or decentralized pyrolysis and hydroprocessing facilities to produce renewable diesel from Canadian biomass feedstock. In addition, it will help to reduce the emissions and carbon footprint from the oil and gas industry.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2019
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-ry2q-0061
  • License
    Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.