Catalytic Hot Gas Filtration

Capability Title Catalytic Hot Gas Filtration
Laboratories  National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
Capability experts K. Magrini, C. Engtrakul, N. Wilson, B. Peterson (NREL);  and M. Hu (ORNL)
Description  This catalyst preservation project couples NREL’s expertise in hot gas filtration (HGF) and catalytic pyrolysis vapor upgrading with ORNL’s materials fabrication and PNNL’s hydrotreating capabilities to provide upgraded bio oils that can be integrated into petroleum refining operations for fuels and chemicals production.  This project develops, characterizes and evaluates hot gas filtration to remove reactive alkali and char particles from biomass pyrolysis vapors to improve vapor composition and protect downstream catalysts from particulate fouling.  Adding a catalyst to the filter (CHGF) to provide chemical tailoring via oxygenate conversion or carbon coupling of the feed vapors before upgrading to hydrocarbons will be assessed for improved product specificity and yield. If successful, this thermochemical CFP-based catalyst preservation project will provide:

  • Biomass-derived pyrolysis vapor and liquid feedstocks with improved properties for catalytic upgrading to fuel and chemicals
  • Improved downstream upgrading catalyst performance and lifetime
  • Efficient ceramic and metal modified ceramic filters for HGF and CHGF
  • Complete process economics from TEA (filtration cost, impact on downstream catalyst performance/cost, and process cost reduction from enhanced oil composition)
Limitations  Project challenges include developing:

  • Efficient HGFs with low yield loss, sufficient mechanical strength, corrosion resistance
  • sustained filtration performance and regenerability with actual pyrolysis vapors
  • Efficient CHGFs that tailor vapor chemistry for enhanced aromatic production and reduced oxygenate (acetic acid) content for fuel production
  • Demonstrating improved hydrotreatment of post filter condensed oils for refinery insertion
Unique aspects NREL’s CHGF test system is an integral component of a coupled pyrolyzer/Davison Circulating Riser system with real time hot vapor compositional analysis provided by an online molecular beam mass spectrometer (MBMS). The system accommodates a pressure controlled 0-5 SLM pyrolysis product stream, 0-20g catalyst loadings and is equipped with a thermal condensation train for condensable products collection. Further capabilities include in-situ H2 reductive activation and in-situ oxidative regeneration of catalysts.
Availability  The catalytic hot gas filtration test system is a capability within the National Bioenergy Center of NREL and is available to collaborators from outside organizations.
  1. TEA analysis when completed
  2. CHGF article in FY18


Hot gas filter assembly and molecular beam mass spectrometer as part of the pyrolyzer/Davison Circulating Riser system at NREL.