Biomass to liquid

Biomass to liquid ( BtL or BMtL ) is a multi-step process of producing synthetic hydrocarbon fuels made from biomass via a thermochemical route. [1] Such a fuel has been called grassoline .

Main processes

According to a study done by the US Department of Agriculture and the Department of Energy , the United States can produce at least 1.3 trillion tons of cellulosic biomass each year without decreasing the amount of biomass needed for our food, animal feed, or exports. [2]

Fischer-Tropsch process

The Fischer-Tropsch process is used to produce synfuels from gasified biomass. Carbonaceous material is a gasified and purified syngas (a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen ). The Fischer-Tropsch polymerizes syngas into diesel -range hydrocarbons. While biodiesel and bio-ethanol production can be used in a plant , ie oil , sugar , starch or cellulose , BtL can be used to produce the whole plant.

Flash pyrolysis

Flash pyrolysis -producing bio-oil ( pyrolysis oil ), char and gas at temperatures between 350-550 ° C and residence times <1 second (also called anhydrous pyrolysis).

Catalytic fast pyrolysis

Catalytic fast pyrolysis is a fast process in which the cellulose is broken down to a liquid biofuel. In this approach, the cellulose is heated to 500 degrees Celsius in one chamber to break the oxygen molecules. The catalyst forms chemical reactions that remove oxygen bonds and form carbon rings . After the reaction takes place gasoline is formed along with water, carbon dioxide , and carbon monoxide . [2]

AFEX treatment

The Ammonia Fiber Expansion (AFEX) pre-treating process, hot Concentrated 15 M ammonia is used to break down sugar molecules, cellulose and hemicellulose Significantly more Efficiently than enzymes. After, the rapid pressure release cools and ends the treatment. The result is minor biomass degradation with high yields. The process was patented by Bruce Dale , Michigan State University professor. [3] AFEX is generally done in one step, making it more efficient than other processes.

AFEX Process Conditions [4]
  • Pressure : 20-30 atm
  • Temperature: 70-140 C
  • Residence time: 5-10 minutes
  • Ammonia : biomass loading: 0.3 – 2.0 to 1 w / w
  • Water : biomass content: 0.2 – 2.5 to 1 w / w

Catalytic depolymerization

Catalytic depolymerization is the use of heat and catalysts to separate usable diesel fuel from hydrocarbon wastes.

Regional Biomass Processing Center

Regional Biomass Processing Center is a conceptual place where the AFEX treated biomass can go to biorefineries, farms and forests, and animal feeders. This will improve the value of cellulosic biomass for animals and biofuelproduction. This will reduce the burden of biomass for easier transportation, simplify contract issues, and increase the use of biofuels

The process uses the whole plant to improve the carbon dioxide balance and increase yield.

Potential energy fat

Plant material is cheaper than oil on both mass and certain plant material have potential to be energy fat.


Switchgrass is a bunch grass native to North America That naturally grow under warm weather with wide adaptation capability and easy germination , Allowing the switchgrass to grow Quicker; however, it has a relative relative performance compared to other energy crops [4]


Sorghum are cultivated in warmer climates, mostly in the tropical regions. Sorghum has the potential to be an energy grass because it requires low water use and can make a large yield. Sorghum , however, has an annual cultivation and is difficult to establish to an area and requires a lot of input from fertilizers and pesticides. [4]


Miscanthus are native to the tropical regions of Africa and Southern Asia . Miscanthus can grow up to 3.5 meters and has been trialed biofuel since the 1980s. The benefits of using miscanthus can be more than just two years, and requires a lot of input. The problems with miscanthus arise from the time it takes to establish to an area. [4]


Grassoline is a term coined in 1991 by Matthew Scoggins, a graduate student of Bruce Dale , to capture the idea of ​​taking material and converting it into oil . [5]

Cost of change

The cost for petroleum to change to grassoline would depend on how fast the use of grassoline grows. [2] Changes will be needed in aussi car to be compliant with grassoline. UC Berkeley’s Somerville (professor of alternative energy) estimates that $ 325 billion will be needed to build biofactories that can produce the 65 billion gallons of biofuels needed to meet 2030 national goals. [6]

See also

  • Energy portal
  • Renewable energy portal
  • Sustainable development portal
  • Bioconversion of biomass to mixed alcohol fuels
  • Bioenergy
  • Biofuel
  • Bioliquids
  • Biomass
  • Biomass gasification
  • Biomass heating systems
  • Bioproduct
  • Biorefinery
  • Coal to liquid
  • DMF fuel
  • Gas to liquid
  • Gasification
  • NExBTL -despite the name BtL, the plant is a feedstock , not whole plants.
  • Non-food crops
  • Renewable energy
  • Sustainable energy
  • Synthetic fuel
  • Thermal depolymerization
  • Vegetable oil refining
  • Wood fuel


  1. Jump up^ Biomass to liquid term
  2. ^ Jump up to:c Huber, George W. “Grassoline at the Pump” . Scientific American.
  3. Jump up^ Dale, Bruce E. “AFEX Pre-Treatment Process Can Reduce Cost of Cellulosic Ethanol” .
  4. ^ Jump up to:d Dale, Bruce E. “GRASSOLINE IN YOUR TANK: CELLULOSIC ETHANOL IS WHY YOU THINK Nearer Than” (PDF) . Retrieved 11 November 2013 .
  5. Jump up^ Schmuhl, Emily (2 December 2009). ” ‘ Grassoline’ is the future for Spotlighted LDS scientists” . Mormon Times .
  6. Jump up^ Dale, BE (2008). “Grassoline in Your Tank: Myths and Realities about Biofuels” . Microscopy and Microanalysis : 1484-1485.
  • Andrei Y. Khodakov, Wei Chu, and Pascal Fongarland “Advances in the Development of Novel Cobalt Fischer-Tropsch Catalysts for Synthesis of Long Chain Hydrocarbons and Clean Fuels” Chemical Reviews, 2007, Volume 107, pp 1692-1744. doi : 10.1021 / cr050972v