Case 12549

Light hydrocarbons via cost efficient separation from biomass feedstock

Keywords:

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

Applications:

Hydrocarbons as fuels or feedstocks for the chemical and polymer industries

Problem:

    Efficiency and specificity of generating light hydrocarbons from renewable sources

Technology:

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.

Advantages:
  • 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

Inventors:
  • 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

Publications:

N/A

Last revised: January 19, 2012

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