Pilot plant testing services demonstrate the feasibility of delayed coking using PetroAlgae “biocrude.”

Intertek Caleb Brett

Various routes are available for converting biomass into transportation fuels. One approach is to combine PetroAlgae biocrude with resid and co-process the blend in a delayed coker to produce coker distillates. PetroAlgae, a renewable energy company, uses proprietary micro-crop growth technology to grow a wide variety of local aquatic microorganisms in open pond bioreactors. This would potentially enable the commercial-scale production of two end-products: a renewable fuel feedstock referred to as biocrude, and a protein product used for animal feed and human food. The biocrude, co-processed with the resid, is converted into coker distillates which can be further processed in existing refinery infrastructure into renewable drop-in transportation fuels.  

At PetroAlgae’s request, initial runs on Intertek Pilot Plant Services' P-3 batch delayed coker unit processed kilogram scale mixtures of biocrude and resid.  Positive results led to follow-up tests on Intertek’s larger P-2 continuous delayed coker unit to process larger quantities of biocrude/resid mixtures. These batch and subsequent once-through tests confirmed that algae biocrude admixed with resid could be successfully co-processed via delayed coking.   

The client reported that “Collaboration between Intertek and PetroAlgae was an important early step in demonstrating biomass delayed coking as a viable refinery process option.” 

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