Biorefinery

Renergi is demonstrating a Two-step Pyrolysis – Biorefinery Technology for the production of partially refined bio-fuels, advanced drop-in bio-fuels and chemicals, as is shown below:

Additional details from our earlier technology development can be found by clicking here.

Biomass is pyrolysed in distributed pyrolysers using Renergi’s grinding pyrolysis technology. The bio-oil is then collected for refining to produce advanced drop-in bio-fuels and chemicals. The key innovation of our biorefining technology is the hydrotreatment of bio-oil. A novel hydrotreatment reactor configuration has been developed by the team led by John Curtin Distinguished Professor Chun-Zhu Li in the Fuels and Energy Technology Institute at Curtin University.

The key feature of Renergi’s Hydrotreatment Reactor Configuration is its ability to reduce coke formation, which is the single biggest problem facing the world’s efforts in developing an effective hydrotreating technology for bio-oil. Using commercial non-noble metal catalysts, Renergi / Curtin researchers have demonstrated the feasibility to produce bio-fuel that is miscible with petrol or diesel in any proportion.

With funding from ARENA, Renergi has designed a 20 L/hr demonstration plant.

 

Related recent literature:

Patents

C.-Z. Li, R. Gunawan, M. Gholizadeh, W. Chaiwat. A method of hydrotreatment and a hydrotreatment system, PCT/AU2013/000825.

Papers:

  • X. Li, R. Gunawan, Y. Wang, W. Chaiwat, X. Hu, M. Gholizadeh, D. Mourant, J. Bromly and C.-Z. Li, Upgrading of bio-oil into advanced biofuels and chemicals. Part III. Changes in aromatic structure and coke forming propensity during the catalytic hydrotreatment of a fast pyrolysis bio-oil with Pd/C catalyst, Fuel, 2014, 116, 642-649.
  • W. Chaiwat, R. Gunawan, M. Gholizadeh, X. Li, C. Lievens, X. Hu, Y. Wang, D. Mourant, A. Rossiter, J. Bromly and C.-Z. Li, Upgrading of bio-oil into advanced biofuels and chemicals. Part II. Importance of holdup of heavy species during the hydrotreatment of bio-oil in a continuous packed-bed catalytic reactor, Fuel, 2013, 112, 302-310.
  • R. Gunawan, X. Li, C. Lievens, M. Gholizadeh, W. Chaiwat, X. Hu, D. Mourant, J. Bromly and C.-Z. Li, Upgrading of bio-oil into advanced biofuels and chemicals. Part I. Transformation of GC-detectable light species during the hydrotreatment of bio-oil using Pd/C catalyst, Fuel, 2013, 111, 709-717.
  • X. Hu, S. Kadarwati, S. Wang, Y. Song, M.D.M. Hasan and C.-Z. Li, Biomass-derived sugars and furans: Which polymerize more during their hydrolysis? Fuel Processing Technology, 2015, 137, 212-219.
  • X. Hu, R.J.M. Westerhof, L. Wu, D. Dong and C.-Z. Li, Upgrading biomass-derived furans via acid-catalysis/hydrogenation: the remarkable difference between water and methanol as the solvent, Green Chemistry, 2015, 17, 219-224.
  • X. Hu, S. Wang, R.J.M. Westerhof, L. Wu, Y. Song, D. Dong and C.-Z. Li, Acid-catalysed conversion of C6 sugar monomer/oligomers to levulinic acid in water, tetrahydrofuran and toluene: Importance of the solvent polarity, Fuel, 2015, 141, 56-63.
  • X. Hu, R.J.M. Westerhof, D. Dong, L. Wu, C.-Z. Li, Acid-catalyzed conversion of xylose in 20 solvents: Insight into interactions of the solvents with xylose, furfural and the acid catalyst, ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 2014, 2, 2562-2575.
  • X. Hu, S. Wang, L. Wu, D. Dong, M.M. Hasan and C.-Z. Li, Acid-treatment of C5 and C6 sugar monomers/oligomers: Insight into their interactions, Fuel Processing Technology, 2014, 126, 315-323.
  • L. Wu, X. Hu, D. Mourant, Y. Wang, C. Kelly, M. Garcia-Perez, M. He and C.-Z. Li, Quantification of strong and weak acidities in bio-oil via non-aqueous potentiometric titration, Fuel, 2014, 115, 652-657.
  • X. Hu, Y. Song, L. Wu, M. Gholizadeh and C.-Z. Li, One-pot synthesis of levulinic acid/ester from C5 carbohydrates in a methanol medium, ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 2013, 1, 1593-1599.
  • X. Hu, C. Lievens, D. Mourant, Y. Wang, L. Wu, R. Gunawan, Y. Song and C.-Z. Li, Investigation of deactivation mechanisms of a solid acid catalyst during the esterification of the bio-oils from mallee biomass, Applied Energy, 2013, 111, 94-103.
  • Y. Wang, D. Mourant, X. Hu, S. Zhang, C. Lievens and C.-Z. Li, Formation of coke during the pyrolysis of bio-oil, Fuel, 2013, 108, 439-444.
  • X. Hu, L. Wu, Y. Wang, Y. Song, D. Mourant, R. Gunawan, M. Gholizadeh and C.-Z. Li, Acid-catalyzed conversion of mono- and poly-sugars into platform chemicals: Effects of molecular structure of sugar substrate, Bioresource Technology, 2013, 133, 469-474.
  • X. Hu, Y. Wang, D. Mourant, R. Gunawan, C. Lievens, W. Chaiwat, M. Gholizadeh, L. Wu, X. Li and C.-Z. Li, Polymerization upon heating up of bio-oil: A model compound study, AIChE Journal, 2013, 59, 888-900.
  • X. Hu, D. Mourant, Y. Wang, L. Wu, W. Chaiwat, R. Gunawan, M. Gholizadeh, C. Lievens, M. Garcia-Perez and C.-Z. Li, Acid-catalysed treatment of the mallee leaf bio-oil with methanol: Effects of molecular structure of carboxylic acids and esters on their conversion, Fuel Processing Technology, 2013, 106, 569-576.
  • X. Hu, C. Lievens and C.-Z. Li, Acid-catalyzed conversion of xylose in methanol-rich medium as part of bio-refinery, ChemSusChem, 2012, 5, 1427-1434.
  • X. Hu, L. Wu, Y. Wang, D. Mourant, C. Lievens, R. Gunawan and C.-Z. Li, Mediating acid-catalyzed conversion of levoglucosan into platform chemicals with various solvents, Green Chemistry, 2012, 14, 3087-3098.
  • X. Hu, D. Mourant, R. Gunawan, L. Wu, Y. Wang, C. Lievens and C.-Z. Li, Production of value-added chemicals from bio-oil via acid catalysis coupled with liquid–liquid extraction, RSC Advances, 2012, 2, 9366-9370.
  • X. Hu, R. Gunawan, D. Mourant, Y. Wang, C. Lievens, W. Chaiwat, L. Wu and C.-Z. Li, Esterification of bio-oil from mallee (Eucalyptus loxophleba ssp. gratiae) leaves with a solid acid catalyst: Conversion of the cyclic ether and terpenoids into hydrocarbons, Bioresource Technology, 2012, 123, 249–255.
  • X. Hu, R. Gunawan, D. Mourant, C. Lievens, X. Li, S. Zhang, W. Chaiwat and C.-Z. Li, Acid-catalysed reactions between methanol and the bio-oil from the fast pyrolysis of mallee bark, Fuel, 2012,97, 512-522.
  • R. Gunawan, X. Li, A. Larcher, X. Hu, D. Mourant, W. Chaiwat, H. Wu and C.-Z. Li, Hydrolysis and glycosidation of sugars during the esterification of fast pyrolysis bio-oil, Fuel, 2012, 95, 146-151.
  • X. Hu, C. Lievens, A. Larcher and C.-Z. Li, Reaction pathways of glucose during esterification: effects of reaction parameters on the formation of humin type polymers, Bioresource Technology, 2011, 102, 10104-10113.
  • C. Lievens, D. Mourant, M. He, R. Gunawan, X. Li and C.-Z. Li, An FT-IR spectroscopic study of carbonyl functionalities in bio-oils, Fuel, 2011, 90, 3417-3423.
  • X. Hu and C.-Z. Li, Levulinic esters from the acid-catalysed reactions of sugar and alcohol as part of bio-refinery, Green Chemistry, 2011, 13, 1676-1679.
  • X. Li, R. Gunawan, C. Lievens, Y. Wang, D. Mourant, S. Wang, H. Wu, M. Garcia-Perez and C.-Z. Li, Simultaneous catalytic esterification of carboxylic acids and acetalisation of aldehydes in a fast pyrolysis bio-oil from mallee biomass, Fuel, 2011, 90, 2530-2537.
  • M. Garcia-Perez, J. Shen, X.S. Wang and C.-Z. Li, Production and fuel properties of fast pyrolysis oil/bio-diesel blends, Fuel Processing Technology, 2010, 91, 296-305.

Renergi is a start-up private company established in 2012 to commercialise a suite of renewable energy technologies developed in the Fuels and Energy Technology Institute at Curtin University of Technology in Western Australia. The current technology focus at Renergi include biomass gasification for distributed power and heat generation, biomass pyrolysis and refinery for the production of biochar, bio-oil and advanced biofuels, and co-firing of biomass with coal in the existing coal-fired power stations.

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