Hydrocarbon feedstocks currently are extracted from petroleum reserves in the ground and combusted to generate energy. They are transported easily as liquids but are non-renewable and their combustion may contribute to global warming. UW-Madison researchers have developed a method of producing hydrocarbons from oxygenated reactants such as glycerol glucose or sorbitol. The method includes the steps of reacting water and a water-soluble oxygenated compound in the presence of a metal-containing catalyst. The reaction can take place in either the vapor phase or preferably in the condensed liquid phase. This method allows the production of hydrocarbons from oxygenated compounds ultimately derived from fully renewable plant biomass. Applications: Production of hydrocarbon fuel from biomass
1) Generates hydrocarbon fuel from abundant and fully renewable sources 2) Environmentally benign 3) Combustion of hydrocarbons produced by this invention will not add to net production of carbon dioxide. 4) Contains low sulfur 5) Derived from non-flammable starting materials 6) Can be used for any application requiring hydrocarbons 7) Can be produced in a single reactor 8) Process minimizes production of hazardous carbon monoxide. 9) Proceeds at a significantly lower temperature than the catalytic cracking of hydrocarbons derived from petroleum feedstocks 10) Energy efficient -- no need to vaporize water to steam when reaction is conducted in the condensed liquid phase 11) Mixtures of two or more oxygenated hydrocarbons can be used as starting material.