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Upgrading Biomass Streams

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Upgrading of Real Biomass Streams

Biomass can be converted to a stream of oxygenates through thermal decomposition in the absence of air. Selective conversion and separation of this complex stream to high value fuels and chemicals is a great challenge. By using a series of torrefaction steps, biomass-derived streams can result that are highly concentrated in a few compounds such that targeted catalytic strategies can be developed that substantially improve the amount of useful products that arise from the biomass. Evaluating and optimizing the tradeoff between increased process complexity and improved yields is a large group effort. Experimentally we use both blends of model compounds as well as real torrefaction vapors to demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed strategies for producing high value products and specialty chemicals. We collaborate with several groups at OU as well as Vikas Khanna's group and Christos Maravelias' group to determine the technoeconomic and life cycle impacts of the promising strategies that are proposed.