Development of nanocatalysts for the synthesis of biofuels from biomass derived syngas
Converting under-utilized biomass from forestry and agricultural sectors to biofuels would benefit the nation’s energy security by displacing imported petroleum. More than 3 million tons/y of biomass is available in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) alone (Skog et al. 2008). This level of biomass could theoretically produce 5 million barrels/y of biofuels. Production of high yields of syngas and upgrading into "drop-in" fuels still requires research, particularly regarding feedstocks and catalyst development. Upgrading biomass-derived syngas to biofuels opens opportunities for near-term commercial development and use in petroleum refineries.
We will test the hypothesis that Fischer-Tropsch type catalytic surfaces can be grown on nanospring-supported membrane-like structures, which would enhance the conversion of biomass-derived syngas into biofuels.