CATALYSIS

Upgrading ethanol without adding hydrogen

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Science  11 Dec 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6266, pp. 1328-1329
DOI: 10.1126/science.350.6266.1328-e

Catalytic conversion to hydrocarbons allows more ethanol to be used in automobile fuel

PHOTO: ©WEGNER, JORG & PETRA/ANIMALS ANIMALS

An issue with ethanol–usage mandates for gasoline is the “blend wall”: Many vehicles can only use up to 10 to 15% ethanol. In order to use more ethanol as a fuel, it must be converted to hydrocarbons that blend into gasoline, but existing processes have suffered from the need to add hydrogen or produce a high fraction of undesirable small hydrocarbons. Narula et al. report the conversion of ethanol to larger hydrocarbons suitable for use in gasoline, as well as diesel and jet fuels, with a ZSM-5 zeolite containing indium and vanadium. A hydrocarbon pool mechanism appears to operate without dehydration steps.

Sci. Rep. 10.1038/srep16039 (2015).

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