Washington State University researchers team with Boeing on cellulosic aviation biofuel

In Washington state, researchers at Washington State University Tri-Cities have figured out a way to successfully convert a common wood byproduct into hydrocarbon molecules that could be used as jet fuel.

Bin Yang, an associate professor of biological systems engineering, said the hydrocarbons from his new procedure could eventually replace the need for petroleum-based fuel sources.

Yang’s procedure converts lignin into a mix of hydrocarbons in a single reactor using appropriate catalysts. The resulting product must be separated and purified to obtain the jet-fuel hydrocarbons that can be used in turbine engines. Yang’s team is working with Boeing Co. to develop and test the hydrocarbons targeted to be jet fuel.

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