Unmet Need: Demand for bio-jet fuels
The demand for bio-jet fuels to reduce carbon emissions is increasing substantially in the aviation sector, while the scarcity of high-density jet fuel components limits the use of bio-jet fuels in high-performance aircrafts compared with conventional jet fuels.
The Technology: Novel biphasic tandem catalytic process (biTCP) for synthesizing cycloalkanes from renewable terpenoid biomass
The production of renewable jet fuels from biomass is in high demand due to global petroleum politics and climate change concerns. The current issues associated with bio-based jet fuels, including low density and low thermal stability, have not yet been solved. Lack of high-density jet fuel components such as cycloalkanes in bio-jet fuels limits their applications in high-performance aircrafts. Current bio-fuels production is complex, low in efficiency, and high in cost, all of which reduce biofuels’ competitiveness in the current petroleum paradigm.
This technology converts terpenoid biomass to jet-fuel range cycloalkanes in a biphasic tandem catalytic process (biTCP), which is a much more efficient catalytic process for producing renewable jet fuels from biocrude. The biTCP process allows for a one-pot process, and thus would allow for a single unit operation reactor in a biofuel production setting to convert biocrude into jet fuel range cycloalkanes.
• The highly efficient conversion of terpenoid biocrude into high-density jet fuel under the mild process conditions
• Multistep tandem reactions carried out in a one-pot catalytic process
• High yields (>90%) of cycloalkanes with practical single unit operation reactor
Terpenoids are readily sourced from most forms of biomass, and the conversion of terpenoids to cycloalkanes has been well studied and its high potential has been proven. The conventional biphasic approach is to facilitate the separation of hydrophobic products from aqueous homogeneous catalysts and thus enable the easy recycling of homogenous catalysts. Through this biphasic tandem catalytic process (biTCP) innovation, both hydrophilic and hydrophobic catalysts are added into two immiscible solvents, which provides a biphasic environment for a “cascade” of chemical reactions in both phases. The cascade of necessary reactions occur as the biocrude travels through both phases, and thus comes into contact with both catalysts during the “one-pot” process.
Provisional patent application filed.