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Focus Areas

Biomass Conversion

Boosting the viability of converting biomass to transportation fuels and chemicals

In pursuit of economical biomass conversion, our team conducts applied research and develops novel process technologies, focusing on thermochemical conversion of biomass through pyrolysis and gasification pathways.

By combining our collective experience in advanced gasification research and catalytic conversion technologies with our state-of-the-art equipment and test systems, we are uniquely equipped to address client needs for catalytic fast pyrolysis, biocrude stabilization, and biocrude upgrading. We also perform comprehensive economic and life-cycle analyses for biofuels and bio-derived chemicals technologies.

Conversion Technology: Catalytic fast pyrolysis process for conversion of biomass including agricultural/forestry residues and municipal solid waste into liquid intermediates suitable for recovery of sustainable chemical building blocks. The product slate can be controlled by catalyst selection and use of reactive environment beside other process conditions. Liquid yields (> 20wt%) depend on feedstock and process conditions.

Downstream Processing: The separation strategies can partition the intermediates from the conversion step into functional components that enables various chemistries (hydrogenolysis; hydrogenation; oxidation; catalytic cracking; polymer synthesis, and nitrogen chemistry) to be leveraged for production and recovery of chemicals. Separation efficiencies (≤ 75%) and product purity (up to 95 wt%) have been demonstrated.

Sustainable Products: Demonstrated chemical pathways for utilization of methoxyphenols recovered from biomass pyrolysis liquid include: (1) as a chemical precursor for vanillin synthesis (2) as a biocide additive for paints and coatings, (3) as bio-based flame retardants (FRs), and (4) for producing bio-based polymers.

Specific capabilities include:

Catalytic Biomass Pyrolysis Technology Development

  • Fundamental catalyst and process development
  • Laboratory-scale process development
  • Integrated pilot-scale process development

Biocrude Processing and Upgrading

  • Hydroprocessing for renewable gasoline, diesel, and jet fuels
  • Separation and purification

Bioproducts Development

Techno-Economic Analysis and Lifecycle Assessment


  • Opportunity feedstocks
  • Support a circular economy to reduce waste