Stabilization and Upgrading of Bio-Oil Using Electrocatalytic Hydrogenation


Executive Summary


Pyrolyzing biomass into bio-oil is one option to convert biomass into a useable, easily transported form with minimal inputs. However, pyrolysis-derived bio-oil contains hundreds of reactive organic compounds that are corrosive to container materials and prone to polymerization. Therefore, it is necessary to be able to rapidly convert this bio-oil on site into a more stable form that can be transported and refined using metal containers and pipes.


Description of Technology


This technology rapidly converts fast pyrolysis-derived bio-oil into a more stable form of bio-oil that can be transported using existing metal infrastructure. Electrocatalytic hydrogenation converts reactive compounds into more stable reduced forms with increased hydrogen content and reduced reactivity. Hydrogen is produced by the cathode so there is no need for external hydrogen gas. A solid supported metal catalyst that is resistant to corrosion is used under mild conditions, which reduces carbon loss and increases the lifetime of the catalyst. The method allows low-cost metal catalysts to be used to increase the value of the bio oil product.


Key Benefits

  • Robust Catalyst a self-assembled catalyst supported on a metal grid or carbon maintains activity via dynamic dissolution and redeposition, and operates for many hours with no physical degradation or activity loss.
  • Mild Conditions Atmospheric pressure and low temperature reactions minimizes undesired reactions and improves safety
  • More energy dense product Bio-oil product has more reduced compounds than the input, which increases specific energy.
  • Stable product The treated bio-oil product is less reactive and does not corrode metal or polymerize.
  • Minimal requirements The only input is electricity, which means this can be run anywhere with access to the energy grid, before transportation to biorefineries.



  • Biofuel industry
  • Petrochemical Manufacturing
  • Organic Chemical Manufacturing


Patent Status: 


Patent Issued No. US9951431B2


Licensing Rights Available


Full Licensing Available




James Jackson, Zhenglong Li, Christopher Saffron, Dennis Miller


Tech ID:




Patent Information:

For Information, Contact:

Thomas Herlache
Assistant Director
Michigan State University