A process for converting lignin into high-quality reformulated hydrocarbon gasoline compositions in high yields is disclosed. The process is a two-stage, catalytic reaction process that produces a reformulated hydrocarbon gasoline product with a controlled amount of aromatics. In the first stage, a lignin material is subjected to a base-catalyzed depolymerization reaction in the presence of a supercritical alcohol as a reaction medium, to thereby produce a depolymerized lignin product. In the second stage, the depolymerized lignin product is subjected to a sequential two-step hydroprocessing reaction to produce a reformulated hydrocarbon gasoline product. In the first hydroprocessing step, the depolymerized lignin is contacted with a hydrodeoxygenation catalyst to produce a hydrodeoxygenated intermediate product. In the second hydroprocessing step, the hydrodeoxygenated intermediate product is contacted with a hydrocracking/ring hydrogenation catalyst to produce the reformulated hydrocarbon gasoline product which includes various desirable naphthenic and paraffinic compounds.
The U.S. Government has a paid-up license in this invention and the right in limited circumstances to require the patent owner to license others on reasonable terms as provided for by the terms of Grant No. XAC-5-14411-01 awarded by the National Renewable Energy Lab and Grant No. AU-8876 and Amendment 1 awarded by Sandia National Labs (DOE Flowthru).