Title

Using Carbonate Buffers to Maximize the Yield of Liquid Fuel Precursors from Hydrothermal Biomass Conversion

Presenter Information

Brandon Basler

Department

Chemistry

Major

Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

Research Advisor

Woelk, Klaus
Ludlow, Douglas K.

Advisor's Department

Chemistry

Second Advisor's Department

Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

Funding Source

Missouri S& T Opportunities for Undergraduate Research Experiences (OURE) Program; Energy Research and Development Center (ERDC)

Abstract

With increasing costs and environmental concerns of fossil fuel, renewable biofuels are becoming more popular and economically attractive. Ethanol from corn starch is a common form of biofuel, although it is costly to produce and transport. In addition, the ethanol fermentation process only preserves 40% of the biomass carbon-carbon bonds that contain most of the chemical energy. In contrast, 5-hydroxymethyl furfural (5-HMF) can be formed from carbohydrate biomass and is a precursor to 2,5-dimethyl furan (2,5-DMF). 2,5-DMF maintains all of the biomass carbon-carbon bonds and can be used directly as liquid transportation fuel performing similarly to standard gasoline. The formation of 5-HMF through hydrothermal reactions of carbohydrate biomass and its yield depends strongly on the pH inside the reactor vessel. Therefore, an efficient pH control during the reaction is essential. In this project, the use of the carbonate/bicarbonate/solvated carbon dioxide buffer system is explored to achieve such pH control.

Biography

Brandon is currently a senior perusing dual Bachelor's of Science degrees in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. He is planning on graduating in May 2013 and will be going to work for Marathon Petroleum in Robinson, Illinois. He has been President of Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity and Alpha Chi Sigma, the Professional Chemical Fraternity. He is currently President of Omega Chi Epsilon Honor Society. He is also active in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, American Chemical Society, the Rolla Newman Center, Campus Christian Fellowship and the Knights of Columbus. He enjoys the outdoors, antique farm equipment, and spending time on his grandparent's family farm.

Research Category

Sciences

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Document Type

Presentation

Location

Upper Atrium/Hallway

Presentation Date

03 Apr 2013, 9:00 am - 11:45 am

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Apr 3rd, 9:00 AM Apr 3rd, 11:45 AM

Using Carbonate Buffers to Maximize the Yield of Liquid Fuel Precursors from Hydrothermal Biomass Conversion

Upper Atrium/Hallway

With increasing costs and environmental concerns of fossil fuel, renewable biofuels are becoming more popular and economically attractive. Ethanol from corn starch is a common form of biofuel, although it is costly to produce and transport. In addition, the ethanol fermentation process only preserves 40% of the biomass carbon-carbon bonds that contain most of the chemical energy. In contrast, 5-hydroxymethyl furfural (5-HMF) can be formed from carbohydrate biomass and is a precursor to 2,5-dimethyl furan (2,5-DMF). 2,5-DMF maintains all of the biomass carbon-carbon bonds and can be used directly as liquid transportation fuel performing similarly to standard gasoline. The formation of 5-HMF through hydrothermal reactions of carbohydrate biomass and its yield depends strongly on the pH inside the reactor vessel. Therefore, an efficient pH control during the reaction is essential. In this project, the use of the carbonate/bicarbonate/solvated carbon dioxide buffer system is explored to achieve such pH control.