IFPEN offers a broad variety of processes and catalysts for the production of biofuels and bio-based molecules. In order to further develop them, it is necessary to characterize the key physicochemical properties of the different liquid products obtained from the lignocellulosic biomass (oxygenated matrices). This is done via relevant descriptors that formed the focus of my HDR thesis, as well as several theses I supervised.

The research that gave rise to these descriptors was conducted by several IFPEN divisions working together, in partnership with external playersa.

A multi-technical approach was constructed and adapted depending on the matrix to be characterized, in order to take into account the broad diversity of oxygenated compounds in terms of chemical functions, polarities, molecular masses and concentrations.

The analytical methods developed for the purpose combine chromatography — gas (GC, GCxGC), supercritical or liquid phase — as well as spectroscopy
and high-resolution mass spectrometry techniques
. A matrix fractionation step is often carried out prior to the analysis, by volatility (micro-distillation), molecular size (nano-filtration, steric exclusion chromatography) or solubility (centrifugal partition chromatography).

Fast pyrolysis oils, from conifer wood, are the first application of this methodology(1, 2), which made it possible to consider the thermosensitivity, strong
polarity and/or high molecular masses of the oxygenated species, in order to achieve a uniquely detailed characterization (figure).

Methodology deployed for the physicochemical
analysis of a bio-based liquid.

Originally targeting products derived from the thermochemical conversion (hydroliquefaction, hydrothermal liquefaction, fast pyrolysis) of lignocellulosic biomass or lignin, this analytical strategy has now been extended to new matrices derived through biochemical conversion.


(1) A. Dubuis, A. Le Masle, L. Chahen, E. Destandau, N. Charon, J. Chrom. A 1609 (2020)

(2) A. Dubuis, A. Le Masle, L. Chahen, E. Destandau, N. Charon, J. Chrom. A 1597 (2019)

Scientific contact: nadege.charon@ifpen.fr