DOE to Invest $18 Million into Advanced Biofuels Facility

The U.S. Department of Energy [Snippet Error: Invalid ID. Try editing the snippet again.] recently announced that its Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will use $18 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to build an advanced biofuels process development facility.

Called the Advanced Biofuels Process Development Unit (PDU), the new lab will expedite the commercialization of advanced biofuels by allowing researchers and the private sector to examine and incorporate innovative technologies. Planned capabilities include biomass pre-treatment, enzyme production, fermentation for the production of multiple biofuels and product purification in quantities sufficient for engine testing at partner institutions.

The new facility will contribute to the goals of the DOE’s Biomass Program, which has awarded nearly $718 million in ARRA funds to speed the growth of a sustainable U.S. bioindustry.

By leveraging the efforts of the DOE’s national laboratories and the private sector to help move new technologies into the market, the PDU will offer universities, national laboratories and industry partners the chance to improve promising developments uncovered in their labs.

These investments will help the industry reach the mandated production requirements for advanced biofuels, which will increase from 950 million gallons per year in 2010 to 21 billion gallons by 2022. Advanced biofuels are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and can be produced from diverse non-food biomass such as forestry and agricultural residues, mill wastes, energy crops and sorted municipal solid waste.

When it becomes operational in 2011, the PDU will be available for public use. Multiple possible locations for the facility are currently being considered in the San Francisco area.

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The U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Biofuels Process Development Unit (PDU) will allow researchers and the private sector to examine and incorporate innovative technologies. Credit: NREL

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