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Regulation of bio-oil molecular structure towards high performance lubricants

Published: 10 February 2020

FORMAS (Future Research Leaders) 2020-2022

Due to the depletion of fossil resources and the environmental issues caused by the greenhouse gas emissions when using them, research has been focused on the development of alternative lignocellulosic biomass liquid fuels, such as bio-oil. However, the low energy density and high cost for upgrading has so far limited bio-oil application as a transportation fuel. Comparing with transportation fuel applications, lubricants show much better profit margins as the price of lubricants is about 10 times higher than that of transportation fuels. In the proposed project we suggest the production of low carbon footprint lubricants by converting lignocellulosic biomass to bio-oil through hydrothermal liquefaction process (HTL). More specifically, we will study the effects of the type of catalyst, the source of biomass and HTL process on the lubrication properties of the resulting fossil-free bio-oil based lubricants. Molecular structure regulation of the bio-lubricants for the advanced task-specific applications will be conducted via neutralization and/or esterification reaction. Furthermore, the mechanism that affects the lubricating properties of the novel lubricant will be elucidated aiming to allow us to tune the bio-oil production parameters and molecular structure to yield bio-oil of desired characteristics. It is of outmost importance to be able to identify suitable additive systems to improve the overall performances of bio-oil to fulfil industry application requirements.


Division of Machine Elements, LTU (Dr. Liwen Mu), RISE Energy Technology Center