The Open Fuels & Energy Science Journal
The replacement of leaded high octane aviation gasoline with an unleaded renewable alternative would decrease the emissions of lead and fossil-derived carbon into the atmosphere. Replacement has been limited by the requirement of a very high octane number in many existing general aviation aircraft engines.
Two separate process pathways were developed that generate an unleaded octane fuel with a motor octane number >96 from triglyceride oils (TGs), such as crop oils and algae oil. A series of experiments coupled with process simulations was used to verify the feasibility of both pathways and to provide preliminary laboratory scale data that could form the basis for further development towards a commercial technology. In the first pathway, TG oil is catalytically cracked to produce a high concentration of simple aromatic hydrocarbons. These aromatic hydrocarbons are then alkylated using propylene to form a mixture, which after purification acquires fuel properties compliant with those in the ASTM specification for 100 octane low lead aviation gasoline (100LL AvGas). In the second process pathway, the aromatic hydrocarbons are isolated after cracking using a sulfolane solvent extraction process to increase alkylation efficiency and fuel quality.
The results demonstrate that it is technically feasible to produce a replacement for 100LL AvGas using either pathway, and thus these strategies may be attractive candidates for commercialization.
First published by The Open Fuels & Energy Science Journal.
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Seames, Wayne; Khambete, Malhar; Khatibi, Nahid; Amsley-Benzie, Shelby; Kozliak, Evguenii; Muggli, Darrin; and Tande, Brian, "High Octane Gasoline Using Renewable Aromatic Hydrocarbons" (2017). Chemical Engineering Faculty Publications. 6.