Case 12549

Light hydrocarbons via cost efficient separation from biomass feedstock


Biomass feedstock, fermentation, hydrothermal decarboxylation, hydrocarbon synthesis, alkene, alkane, propylene, propane, fuels


Hydrocarbons as fuels or feedstocks for the chemical and polymer industries


    Efficiency and specificity of generating light hydrocarbons from renewable sources


This invention relates to furnishing an efficient, specific process for the conversion from sugars to hydrocarbons such as propylene or propane. Specifically, it is the conduction of a two-stage process in which carbohydrates, for example glucose or xylose, are fermented to carboxylic acids or related intermediates. The second step of the invention is the hydrothermal decarboxylation and/or dehydration of these compounds to yield light alkenes and alkanes. The feedstock can include a wide variety of fermentable sugars, including those derived from starch and from cellulose.

  • Direct route from biomass to alkanes/alkenes
  • Provides significant reduction in separation costs, as compared to the leading biofuel (ethanol)
  • Produces fuel with existing distribution infrastructure and market

  • Curt Fischer (Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT)
  • Andrew Peterson (Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT)

Intellectual Property:

US Published Patent Application Serial No. 12/527714; filed March 1, 2010

PCT Published Patent Application Serial No. US08/002412; filed February 22, 2008



Last revised: January 19, 2012

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