Scientific Research Thrusts and Enabling Technologies
Thin-film pyrolysis sample.
The next generation of biofuels will be produced by high-temperature (>1000 °F) pyrolysis or gasification of lignocellulosic biomass. At these temperatures, large biopolymers (such as cellulose) thermally fracture to smaller fragments, which can evaporate and be collected as bio-oil. Subsequent upgrading of bio-oil then produces gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. Thus, the future of biofuels depends on the production of high-quality, low-cost bio-oil. CCEI develops techniques for measuring and modeling intrinsic kinetics (e.g., thin film pyrolysis, co-pyrolysis, Car-Parrinello molecular dynamics) for the first time. Fundamental kinetic models can then be used for scale-up.