AbstractMolecular distillation technology has been adopted to obtain a bio-oil fraction rich in carboxylic acids and ketones. This unique bio-oil fraction was then upgraded with a La-promoted solid acid catalyst. Three washing pretreatments were used to prepare catalysts A, B, and C, with the intention of reducing the amounts of residual sulfuric acid. Model reactions were used to estimate their catalytic activities and the residual amounts of sulfuric acid. Catalyst B, with washing after calcination, displayed higher catalytic activity (80.83%) and lower residual amount of sulfuric acid (50 μmol/g). The catalysts were characterized by techniques such as BET, XRD, and SEM to explain the differences in their catalytic activities. The optimum catalyst B was used in the upgrading of the bio-oil molecular distillation fraction. After upgrading, the corrosivity of the bio-oil fraction declined and its storage stability was improved. The carboxylic acid content in the upgraded bio-oil fraction decreased from 18.39% to 2.70%, while the ester content increased from 0.72% to 31.17%. The conversion of corrosive carboxylic acids to neutral esters reduced the corrosivity of the bio-oil fraction. Moreover, the ketones with unsaturated carbon-carbon double bonds (such as 2-cyclopenten-1-one, 3-methyl-2-cyclopenten-1-one, etc.) were converted into saturated compounds, which improved the stability of the bio-oil fraction.