Southern Research Institute has inked a cooperative agreement with the US Department of Energy for the development of a technology to convert biomass to petroleum refinery-ready bio-oils.

The mild liquefaction process will convert biomass to stabilized bio-oils that can be directly blended with hydrotreater and cracker input streams in a petroleum refinery for production of gasoline and diesel range hydrocarbons.

Southern Research principal investigator Santosh K. Gangwal said that the project is expected to enhance liquefaction by demonstrating cost-effective biomass conversion to stable bio-oils at mild conditions.

"We will also evaluate the suitability and process economics of directly blending our bio-oils with refinery hydrotreater and cracker streams for co-production of diesel and gasoline," added Gangwal.

Southern Research noted that the co-processing of bio-oil with petroleum refinery streams can help refineries to meet the new renewable fuels standards.

The agency is also looking for a refinery partner in order to further define bio-oil quality specifications that meet requirements for direct insertion in the petroleum refining process.