Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Forestry have demonstrated an alternative technique for the production of drop-in fuels via the esterification of bio-oil produced by the cracking of soybean oil over a basic catalyst in a continuous pyrolysis reactor at atmospheric pressure.

The experiments were designed to study the effect of different types of catalysts on the yield and acid value of the diesel and gasoline fractions from the pyrolytic oil.

The basic catalyst gave a product with relatively low acid number; these pyrolytic oils were then further reacted with alcohol in order to decrease their acid value.

The physico-chemical properties of the resulting biofuels compared with the Chinese specifications for conventional diesel fuels. A paper on the work was published in the journal Bioresource Technology.


  • Junming Xu, Jianchun Jiang, Yunjuan Suna and Jie Chen (2010) Production of hydrocarbon fuels from pyrolysis of soybean oils using a basic catalyst. Bioresource Technology doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2010.06.147