Berkeley Lab Opens Advanced Biofuels Facility
(Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) The ailing United States’ economy would receive a much needed boost with the commercial development of a domestic source of transportation fuel – especially if that fuel were to be clean, green and renewable, and could replace gasoline on a gallon-for gallon basis in today’s engines and infrastructures. Helping to make that dream come true is the mission of the Advanced Biofuels ProcessDemonstration Unit (ABPDU), which officially opened for business by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).
The ABPDU is a 15,000 square-foot state-of-the art facility, located in Emeryville, California, designed to help expedite the commercialization of advanced next-generation biofuels by providing industry-scale test beds for discoveries made in the laboratory. Derived from cellulosic biomass not used as a food or feed source, these advanced biofuels represent a job-creating industry that would significantly reduce our nation’s dependence on imported oil. As a further benefit, the combustion of these fuels is “carbon-neutral,” meaning their use does not contribute to an increase in greenhouse gases.
“The Advanced Biofuels Process Demonstration Unit will serve the efforts of majorbiofuels research across the nation – including the Bioenergy Research Centers in the DOE Office of Science,” said Berkeley Lab director Paul Alivisatos when it was announced in March 2010, that Berkeley Lab would receive a $20 million grant from DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). “The establishment by EERE of this facility at Berkeley Lab, a DOE Office of Science national laboratory, reflects a new spirit of cooperation between the DOE technology and science programs. Berkeley Lab is proud to play its part.”
Berkeley Lab’s ABPDU 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.
Under the terms of the EERE award, Berkeley Lab is slotted to receive an additional $3 million a year to operate the ABPDU whose capabilities will be available to a broad variety of institutions and organizations, both within and outside of DOE, that are involved inbiofuels research and development.
… In his remarks, Jay Keasling, Berkeley Lab’s Associate Director for Biosciences, noted that the design capacity of the ABPDU is 45-to-90 kilograms/day for biomass pretreatment and 11-to-20 liters per day for biofuels production. These quantities are sufficient for engine testing.READ MORE (includes videos)