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Deoxygenation of Lignin-Derived Species to Aromatics and Olefins

Grant Number:   OG-17-002

GRANT ACTIVE DATE

01/01/2017 - 12/31/2017

PROGRAM AREA

Grant

AWARD AMOUNT

94,598.00

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

Dr. Brent Shanks

LOCATION

Ames, IA

STATUS

active

ORGANIZATION

Iowa State University

FOCUS

This Opportunity Grant proposal to the Iowa Energy Center (IEC) is to generate data that will strengthen our competiveness for biofuels-related funding opportunities from the Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).  DOE has noted that the co-production of bioproducts will be essential to making cost competitive biofuels.  We are proposing a process to deoxygenate byproduct lignin to aromatics and olefins, which are large volume chemicals that are significantly more valuable than fuels.  The current best case economics for cellulosic ethanol is $2.31/gallon with lignin being used for boiler fuel.  We estimate that the recovery of aromatics and olefins from lignin would drive the cost of cellulosic ethanol below $2.00/gallon. Our concept of deoxygenating lignin-derived species to aromatics and olefins was invited to the recent DOE FOA entitled MEGA-BIO: Bioproducts to Enable Biofuels.  Unfortunately, we were not selected for funding and we believe that our proposal weakness was that we had demonstrated the deoxygenation technology in a batch micropyrolyzer system and not with a larger bench-scale continuous pyrolysis system.  Therefore, we are requesting funding to scale our conversion technology, so that we will be in a stronger position for the next DOE opportunity.