Invention regarding Converting Biomass to Bio-Fuels


The carbon footprint for bio fuels is zero, because the carbon that is present in the bio fuel was originally taken from the atmosphere by plants. Replacing fossil fuels with bio fuels will lower the carbon content of the atmosphere, and will reduce dependence on non-renewable energy supplies. HMF (5- hydroxymethlfurfural) is a critical intermediate product for converting biomass to liquid alkanes, which are hydrocarbons such as methane, propane, butane and octane.However, the current production of HMF is hampered by inefficient and costly processes, often involving the use of toxic materials that are themselves environmental hazards.

The invention/technology is available for licensing.

For interested parties seeking further information, feel free to contact: Mark Allen Lanoue Technology Manager / Tech Ventures University of Arkansas (479) 575-7243 [email protected]

Key Benefits

Advantage(s): No alternative products exist. Biphasic reactors have been described for removal of HMF and furfural into an organic phase. However use of a catalytic membrane is exceedingly novel allowing for increased HMF and furfural yields.


Application(s): hydrolysis/dehydration reactions to completion and improve the selectivity and yield for HMF production. The IL will be retained in the reactor in the continuous batch reactor and reused to reduce the processing cost dramatically. * Solid acid catalysts immobilized on membrane surface for waste-water treatment by oxidizing toxic organic compounds, or pharmaceutical by-products or waste. * Solid acid catalysts for cracking or petroleum refining. * Solid acid catalysts for specialized chemical synthesis. Applications in super-acid based proton exchange membrane.


A new chemical process has been developed that has several advantages over current technology. The process uses non-toxic materials instead of toxic metal based catalyst or sulphuric acid, thus reducing equipment costs. The new process is simpler, involving fewer steps, and it is a continuous process, not a batch process. The new process does not use micro-organisms, but uses instead a more efficient enzyme-mimic catalyst, and the conversion to HMF is a faster process than existing methods. Further, the new process can use a variety of feed stocks and is not dependent on the use of food plants like corn, and can work efficiently on agricultural waste products.

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