This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

August 18, 2011

Department of Energy Highlights New Advanced Biofuels Research and Development Facility at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

The Energy Department issued the following statement in support of today's ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Advanced Biofuels Process Demonstration Unit (ABPDU) at a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory site in Emeryville, California. Built and operated with funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the U.S. Department of Energy, the facility will enable researchers and engineers to test promising new processes for biofuels production that will support the domestic biofuels industry and improve the nation's energy security.

"This state-of-the art facility will speed transition from laboratory discoveries to commercially viable advanced biofuels," said Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Henry Kelly. "Facilities like this are essential for developing the next generation of biofuels from American-grown resources that reduce our dependence on foreign oil. They are essential for converting research advances into new U.S. business opportunities that can create jobs and support a wide range of economic opportunities in rural America."

Background Information

The ABPDU ribbon-cutting event at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory celebrates the opening of a 15,000 square-foot facility that will improve collaboration on bioenergy research and development efforts. The Energy Department's Office of Science Bioenergy Research Centers, Energy Department-supported researchers, academic institutions, non-profit research organizations, and companies will be able to use the facility to test and develop emerging biofuels technologies at a larger scale without having to invest additional capital to build separate facilities for each technology. Demonstrations conducted at the new facility will also help researchers gather the data they need to scale up and integrate processes and secure future federal funding and private investment.

Funded with $17.7 million from the Recovery Act, the flexible facility will allow the scale-up, demonstration, and further development of biochemical conversion methods for producing advanced biofuels from biomass materials such as grasses, wood, and agricultural residues. The facility is fully equipped for pretreatment, fermentation, and downstream processing, along with extensive analytical characterization capabilities at each step. For every stage in biofuel production, the facility can provide material and energy data to help optimize processes for expansion from pilot- to commercial-scale production. The ABPDU's design capacity is 45-90 kg/day for biomass pretreatment and 11-20 liters/day of biofuels production—quantities sufficient for evaluating the properties and performance of these biofuels in real applications such as engine testing.

DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy invests in clean energy technologies that strengthen the economy, protect the environment, and promote national security. Learn more about DOE's support of research and development of biofuels, bioenergy, and bioproducts.