Chemical and Materials Engineering

Catalytic Upgrading of Vapors and Liquids from Pyrolysis of Biomass

The D. B. Robinson Distinguished Speaker Series Presents:

Catalytic Upgrading of Vapors and Liquids from Pyrolysis of Biomass


An effective approach to stabilize pyrolysis oil is conducting the refining before condensation of the vapors occurs. Degradation by further reaction (oligomerization) occurs in the liquid phase and accelerates when the liquid is subsequently heated for fractionation or other processing. The proposed “catalytic cascade” incorporates a series of reactions that include:

  • formation of C-C bonds to extend the carbon backbone of short oxygenates to the desired gasoline/diesel range;
  • incorporation of short carbon fragments (C1-C3) into the aromatic ring of phenolic compounds;
  • deoxygenation of the resulting products to monofunctional compounds or hydrocarbons.

The different catalysts used in this cascade include: basic catalysts (MgO, ZrO2, CsX zeolites), acidic catalysts (H-ZSM5, H-beta zeolites), mixed oxides (CeZrO2), supported metal catalysts (Cu, Ni, Ru, Pd supported on carbon nanotubes and monolith). These catalysts are used in the vapor phase or in liquid (biphasic) systems. The latter employs nanoparticle catalysts to stabilize water/oil emulsions and to conduct reactions at the liquid/liquid interface to benefit from the differences in solubility exhibited by the reactants (bio-oil) and products (bio-fuels) and achieve continuous reaction/separation.

Short Biography

Daniel E. Resasco is a Professor of Chemical, Biological, and Materials Engineering at the University of Oklahoma. He holds the D. Bourne endowed Chair. He received his PhD from Yale University in 1983. He is author of more than 190 publications and 30 industrial patents in the areas of heterogeneous catalysis and carbon nanotubes. He has been a Presidential Professor, S. Wilson Professor, and in the last few years he was awarded the Oklahoma Chemist of the Year award by the American Chemical Society, the Yale Science and Engineering Association award, and the Regents Award for Superior Research. He is the founder of SouthWest Nanotechnologies, a commercial carbon nanotube producer that operates in Norman, OK. He has been Editor of the Journal of Catalysis, and has been a member of the editorial board of Applied Catalysis and Journal of Catalysis.

Daniel Resasco

Professor Daniel Resasco

University of Oklahoma

Date and Time

Thursday, September 15, 2011
3:30 PM


Engineering Teaching and Learning Complex
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