What’s the range of drop-in fuels we could potentially produce from biofeedstocks (lipids) with an appropriate process line-up?

First published in PTQ Q4 2021

Larissa Perotta, Technology Manager Renewables, Axens

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Renewables & Alternatives products for producing high-quality middle distillates and gasoline.


Lipids are biofeedstocks that, after hydrotreatment, will generate 100% linear paraffin streams in the typical range of C14-C20, free of sulphur and nitrogen.

These paraffins are suitable for various applications, depending on the downstream processing applied:

  • With no further conversion, it is possible to incorporate them directly into the diesel pool as cetane enhancers. The limit of incorporation will be dictated by the pool’s cold flow specifications, as this stream presents a cloud point typically around 15-30°C.
  • With no further conversion, it can also be used in the petrochemical industry as feed for steam crackers.
  • When further converted through isomerisation/hydrocracking, this stream can, depending on the severity of the conversion, feed the diesel pool as HVO (with tailored cold flow properties and no limit of incorporation), the jet pool as SAF (up to 50% in the jet pool as per ASTM D7566) or the naphtha pool (mostly for the petrochemical industry due to the paraffinic nature of this product and its low octane number). If desired, naphtha can be further upgraded to reach the gasoline pool as renewable gasoline.

Propane is also one of the products of lipid hydrotreatment and may be collected to feed the LPG pool as renewable LPG.