Advanced biofuels, as defined by the Energy Independence and Security Act, are renewable fuels - other than ethanol derived from corn starch - with at least 50 percent less lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions than the fossil fuels they replace. Berkeley Lab's Advanced Biofuels PDU will feature pre-treatment of biomass capabilities and bioreactors for the production of microbial or fungal enzymes that can break down biomass into fermentable sugars. The facility will also have substantial capabilities for fermentation or further conversion of sugars into advanced biofuels, along with the capacity to purify these fuels in sufficient quantities for engine testing.
Jay Keasling, the CEO of the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), one of three DOE Office of Science Bioenergy Research Centers, says researchers at his institute are looking forward to using the new facility's resources.
"One of JBEI's missions is to see that its scientific advances are translated into commercially viable technologies, as the rapid transfer of laboratory discoveries to the marketplace is crucial to solving the nation's most pressing challenges in energy and the environment," Keasling said. "The Advanced Biofuels PDU will be an important contributor to this national effort."
The new facility will be operated through Berkeley Lab's Physical Biosciences Division, which oversees $34 million in research programs, including Berkeley Lab's participation in JBEI as well as major efforts in bioenergy and environmental studies. The Advanced Biofuels PDU will "add a powerful new capability to the division's portfolio," according to the division's acting director Paul Adams.
"Advanced biofuels have the potential to be used as direct replacements for several or all petroleum-derived components in gasoline, diesel and jet fuels," Adams said. "In order for thes
|Contact: Lynn Yarris|
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory