SWITCHGRASS TO FUELS Amanda Drabek and Kang-Lih Chey The United States has been striving to develop alternate sources of energy to standard petroleum fuels. The motive for this is both the need for independence from foreign oil markets and an increasing interest in earth-friendly and renewable resources. To pursue this goal, the U.S. began a Biomass Research and Development Initiative to develop bioenergy and biobased products. Also, the federal government has issued an energy bill that sets requirements that increase annually for the percentage of fuel that must come from renewable resources. The purpose of this Capstone project is to develop a pyrolysis process for producing bio-oil and to determine if there is an economically feasible method of upgrading the bio-oil to fuel suitable for automobiles. Three options will be considered: 1) selling the bio-oil to generate electricity without upgrading, 2) upgrading the bio-oil through hydrotreating, 3) upgrading the bio-oil using a zeolite catalyst. A simulation of a pilot plant was created using excel
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