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Mass Spectrometric Bio-oil Analysis

Bio-oil, obtained from fast pyrolysis, is considered to be a promising renewable energy that might replace petroleum to improve the sustainability, national security, domestic economy and diversity of transportation fuels.

The Lee group is developing an analytical technique based on high-resolution mass spectrometry to understand complex bio-oils in molecular details. Utilizing high-resolution mass spectrometry, we are characterizing complex bio-oils that are not amenable with traditional tools, such as GC-MS, NMR, or FT-IR. We are pioneers in this field; published the first paper in petroleomic analysis of bio-oils, presented several works in ASMS conference, and worked on various ionization methods and biomass feedstock. This study is now further expanded to understand the pyrolysis kinetics and catalytic upgrading.

Students through this DOE-SULI program will learn topnotch mass spectrometry technology, chemical processes involved in the production of bio-oils, and how analytical chemistry can help in developing sustainable technology.

Mentor: Young-Jin Lee, assistant professor, Department of Chemistry, Iowa State University