From Oil to Biomass: Solid Catalysts for Energy and Chemicals

2012-13 EBI Seminar Series

Monday, October 15, 2012

Dr. Avelino Corma

Professor, CSIC-Polytechnical University of Valencia


From Oil to Biomass: Solid Catalysts for Energy and Chemicals




Biomass can be converted into liquid fuels directly by hydrothermal treatment or by pyrolysis. However the bio-oil obtained by these processes have high oxygen content and require severe post-treatments. Better results can be obtained by catalytic pyrolysis, and different options will be described. Nevertheless, cellulose and hemicelluloses can be transformed in intermediate platform products that by means of a multistep process can be transformed into kerosene and diesel. Different catalytic processes directed to transform cellulose and hemicelluloses into kerosene and high-quality diesel will be discussed. Fatty acids derived from non-edible oil can also be transformed into diesel and lubricants in a multistep cascade process using multifunctional catalysts. The production of chemicals such as surfactants, organic carbonates, lactones, etc., starting from biomass-derived products by means of a catalytic process will be described in a second part of the presentation.




Avelino Corma, Professor at the Instituto de Tecnología Química (CSIC-Polytechnical University of Valencia), has been carrying out research in heterogeneous catalysis in academia and in collaboration with companies for nearly 30 years. He has worked on fundamental aspects of acid-base and redox catalysis with the aim of understanding the nature of the active sites and reaction mechanisms. With these bases, he has developed catalysts that are being used commercially in several industrial processes. He is an internationally recognized expert in solid acid and bifunctional catalysts for oil refining, petrochemistry and chemical processing, especially in the synthesis and application of zeolite catalysts. He has published more than 900 research papers and is an inventor on more than 100 patents.  Corma earned his B.S. in chemistry at Valencia University, his Ph.D. at Madrid under the direction of Prof. Antonio Cortes, and spent two years as a postdoc at Queen´s University.  He has received the Ciapetta and Houdry Awards of the North American Catalysis Society, the F. Gault Award of the European Catalysis Society, the M. Boudart Award on Catalysis by the North American and European Catalysis Societies, the G. J. Somorjai ACS Award on Creative Catalysis, the Breck Award of the International Zeolite Association, the National Award of Science and Technology of Spain, the ENI Award on Hydrocarbon Chemistry, the Royal Society of Chemistry Centenary Prize, Rhodia Pierre-Gilles de Gennes Prize for Science and Industry, the Gold Medal for Chemistry Research Career 2001-2010 in Spain, and La Grande Médaille de l'Académie des sciences de France in 2011.