The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced that the Department’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will build an advanced biofuels process development facility to help speed the commercialization of advanced biofuels. The facility is being funded with nearly $18 million from the Recovery Act.
This will be a publicly available facility where researchers can integrate process steps and test new technology pathways, such as those being developed at DOE’s Office of Science Bioenergy Research Centers. The DOE reports that this facility will be the only one of its kind available for public use.
This facility is part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to building a sustainable transportation system based on clean energy and domestic innovation. The Advanced Biofuels Process Development Unit (PDU), scheduled to open in early 2011, will provide universities, national laboratories and industry partners the opportunity to scale up promising processes discovered in their laboratories. Planned capabilities include pretreatment of biomass, enzyme production, fermentation for the production of multiple biofuels, and product purification in quantities sufficient for engine testing at partner institutions, DOE reports.
I’d like to point out that the DOE’s Biomass Program has awarded about $718 million in Recovery Act funds to accelerate the commercialization of advanced biofuels and foster the growth of a sustainable U.S. bioindustry. These investments will help meet mandated production requirements for advanced biofuels, which increase from 950 million gallons per year in 2010 to 21 billion gallons per year in 2022.
The DOE reports that advanced biofuels are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent and can be produced from forestry and agricultural residues, mill wastes, energy crops, and municipal solid waste. For more information visit DOE’s Biomass Program Web site (www1.eere.energy.gov/biomass/ ).