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New ASTM International test method supports bio-oil stability

A new ASTM International test method will help determine the carbonyl content of thermochemically derived bio-oils. Carbonyls contribute to instability during storage and processing of bio-oils.
“This new standard provides a simple way to measure carbonyl content. This can help determine the quality of a bio-oil that will undergo further upgrading to fuels and chemicals,” says ASTM member Earl Christensen, a chemist at the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Fortum Otso (“bear”) bio-oil is produced at its plant in Joensuu, Finland. In production since 2013, the bio-oil is produced from renewable wood-based raw materials using fast pyrolysis technology (photo courtesy Fortum).

Christensen notes that bio-oils with high carbonyl content may require stabilization prior to upgrading. In addition, knowing the level of carbonyl content can help track and predict how a bio-oil will age during storage.

According to Christensen, bio-oil producers, those who work to upgrade bio-oil, and analytical labs will find the standard most useful. In addition, regulatory bodies might use the standard to help describe the quality of a bio-oil intermediate that could be further processed into fuels and chemical products.

The standard (E3146) was developed by ASTM International’s committee on bioenergy and industrial chemicals from biomass (E48). The standard can be used in conjunction with the specification for pyrolysis liquid biofuel (D7544) to describe the quality of a bio-oil that will be further upgraded.

ASTM International welcomes participation in the development of its standards and the committee on bioenergy and industrial chemicals from biomass is seeking participants for an interlaboratory study for the new standard.

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