Leandro “Andy” DeCastro
With the ever increasing demand for petroleum based fuel and rising concerns over atmospheric carbon dioxide, there have been increased interest in the use of biomass derived fuels as alternatives. The production of biofuels from lignocellulosic biomass can be done by fast pyrolysis with subsequent upgrading of the bio-oil product. Catalytic upgrading of pyrolysis oil improves the quality of the liquid fuel in order to be compatible as a substitute to fossil-based fuel. While catalysts have been identified for this upgrading process, much is still desired in the optimization of the catalyst performance.
Enhancing the catalytic performance of supported metal catalysts can be done by increasing active site count as well as modification of the physico-chemical characteristics of the catalyst material. By using strong electrostatic adsorption (SEA) in synthesizing these catalysts, control of particle size is achieved and dispersion, or active site concentration, can be increased. Comparison of different supported metal catalysts with similar particle sizes will provide better insight on the activity of each metal, eliminating size effects. Thus, this research aims to develop highly structured matertials that will convert biomass feedstock to renewable hydrocarbon fuel (i.e. biogasoline, biodiesel, biojet fuels).”