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New test could help bio-lube production as Exxon boosts bio output

The new test standard could help in bio-quality description for upgrading products.

Created by the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM), standard E3146 can be used to measure the total carbonyl content of bio-oils.  The test is important for enhancing for both storage and processing bio-lubes as carbonyl is know to cause instability in both cases.

Biofuel image

Biolubes get a new test Image: Commons

In technical terms, according to the ASTM spec: "This test method covers the determination of the carbonyl content of bio-oils derived from thermochemical decomposition of lignocellulosic biomass and their deoxygenated products. This method is used for determination of carbonyls between 0.5 and 8 mol/kg."

From a practical perspective the new standard will allow bio-lubes producers to track the way bio-oils will age during storage and also potentially predict how they will react when they are upgraded to fuels or chemicals.  It may also allow bio-lubes regulators to enhance quality description for upgradeable products.

The tests may be good news for ExxonMobil which announced its intention to produce 10,000b/d of algae biofuels by 2025.  The announcement comes as the oil giant moved to a new phase in its algae biofuel research, conducted with Synthetic Genomics Inc. at its base in California.  Using a number of ponds, the latest outdoor study will establish real-world parameters including viscosity and flow. The results could lead to the ability to reach the 10,000b/d target within the next seven years.

 

Tags: bio lubes, N America

Published 18th April, 2018

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