Oxygen content a challenge in biomass displacement of crude

18 June 2013 05:29  [Source: ICIS news]

MONTREAL, Canada (ICIS)--High oxygen content in biomass can create a challenge for the US Department of Energy (DOE) as it forms a strategy to displace crude oil, a technical manager said on Monday.

Oxygen content in biomass is 41-50%, whereas it is only 0.05-1.5% in crude oil, said Joyce Yang from the DOE’s Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) office.

“That is fine when you look at a strategy for cellulosic ethanol because ethanol is 35% by weight in oxygen, she said at the World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology conference.

“But when you pursue hydrocarbon fuels, there’s almost no oxygen so the strategic consequence is [that] there is potentially a significant loss of yield, up to 50%,” Yang added.

As a result, hydrogen would needed to supplement the lack of oxygen content in the biomass product, she said.

“So that means a lot to us in terms of our coming strategy [to displace oil] and how we deal with this program and process to still make it economically viable without subsidies,” she said.

The World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology conference runs through 19 June.

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By: Tracy Dang
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