Co-Processing Cooperation: National Labs Working Together to Create Clean Energy Fuels

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Energy dot gov Office of Energy Efficiency and renewable energy

Bioenergy Technologies Office


April 21, 2022

Co-Processing Cooperation: National Labs Working Together to Create Clean Energy Fuels

Researcher sitting at a monitor in front of a large research machine.

A Lab to Reflect the Real World—NREL’s customizable Davison Circulating Riser enables real-time analysis of the dynamics of co-processing in fluid catalytic crackers—common units at many U.S. refineries. Photo courtesy of Dennis Schroeder, NREL

Since 2018, a multi-laboratory consortium, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) and guided by an industrial advisory board, has focused on adding co-processing of bio-oils into existing refinery units with petroleum feedstocks to produce sustainable transportation fuels. Together, this consortium addresses the most critical barriers identified by oil refiners for adopting co-processing across the United States to produce clean transportation fuels.

Read more about each national lab’s research and contributions:

  • Part 1 - National Renewable Energy Laboratory: Studies fluid catalytic cracking units, which react bio-oils with heavy gas oils to produce green carbon containing gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel.
  • Part 2 - Pacific Northwest National Laboratory: Works on a second refinery operation—hydrocracking and hydrotreating—which turns bio-oils and biocrude from hydrothermal liquefaction into green fuels.
  • Part 3 - Los Alamos National Laboratory: Researches measuring green carbon reliably and economically in co-processed fuels.

BETO supports research, development, and demonstration to enable the sustainable use of domestic biomass and waste resources for the production of biofuels and bioproducts. BETO is part of DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.