Co-processing of castor oil with fossil-based feedstocks in conventional refinery processes for the production of high quality 2nd generation biofuels
Energy is one of the most important considerations of modern world. More than half of the energy is consumed in the form of transport fuel. Thus in light of considerations such as global warming, energy security and even economic growth there is significant interest in the development of renewable fuels. These biofuels can be produced from a wide variety of sources but the interest is currently focused on the utilization of sources and processes that maximize production and quality while minimizing strain on envi-ronment, land use, food supply etc. Biofuels that meet these requirements are character-ized as second generation. A promising biomass source for the production of 2nd genera-tion biodiesel is castor oil which is widely used in the automotive lubricant industry. For such biodiesel to be viable economically and compatible with current technology the production process needs to be integrable with existing infrastructure and feedstocks, for coproduction and able to produce high quality fuel, free of heteroatoms and with elevated physical qualities. For this purpose, mono and bimetallic bifunctional catalysts made from combinations of Pt, Ir and Pd supported on amorphous silica alumina where evaluated for use in hydrogenation processes on model compounds. Monometallic Pt was deemed to have the greatest potential and was subsequently tested on a feedstock representative of an industrial setting corresponding to the co-processing of Castor oil along with VGO. The catalyst had a beneficial impact on the quality of the product, re-moving Sulphur and upgrading the product’s pour point. Both before and after testing all catalysts where characterized to determine their characteristics and the quantity and quality of coke formation.