Catalytic Condensation of Biobased Molecules for Jet Fuel Synthesis
The present work evaluates a process for the production of renewable jet fuel hydrocarbons using biobased precursors derived from 2nd generation biomass hemicellulose. A set of promising basic solid formed catalysts was benchmarked in lab-scale continuous fixed bed reactors to evaluate their catalytic performance in the cross-condensation of furfural and acetone and the self-condensation of cyclopentanone at two different temperature regimes. For the low temperature liquid process (80-120 °C), a hydrotalcite and a metal-organic-framework catalyst were most active and stable up to 53 h on stream, with high conversions (> 85 %) and favouring the formation of C13 over C8 products. For the high temperature gas-phase process (280-360 °C), a metal doped alumina catalyst was most active, with stable conversion (40-45 %) and a product distribution favouring C10 over C15 molecules. The two process regimes (low and high temperature) can provide flexibility in the production of biobased hydrocarbons for use in the aviation sector. Catalyst deactivation was observed due to strong carbon adsorption; however, most active materials could be regenerated via calcination. Future work will focus on the overall stability of these regenerated catalysts and the successive hydrotreatment of the condensation products.