This invention relates to a process for thermochemically transforming biomass or other oxygenated feedstocks into high quality liquid hydrocarbon fuels. In particular, a catalytic hydropyrolysis reactor, containing a deep bed of fluidized catalyst particles is utilized to accept particles of biomass or other oxygenated feedstocks that are significantly smaller than the particles of catalyst in the fluidized bed. The reactor features an insert or other structure disposed within the reactor vessel that inhibits slugging of the bed and thereby minimizes attrition of the catalyst. Within the bed, the biomass feedstock is converted into a vapor-phase product, containing hydrocarbon molecules and other process vapors, and an entrained solid char product, which is separated from the vapor stream after the vapor stream has been exhausted from the top of the reactor. When the product vapor stream is cooled to ambient temperatures, a significant proportion of the hydrocarbons in the product vapor stream can be recovered as a liquid stream of hydrophobic hydrocarbons, with properties consistent with those of gasoline, kerosene, and diesel fuel. Separate streams of gasoline, kerosene, and diesel fuel may also be obtained, either via selective condensation of each type of fuel, or via later distillation of the combined hydrocarbon liquid.
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 Contract No. DE-EE0002873 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy.