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Making Biofuels Cheaper by Putting Plants to Work

One strategy to make biofuels more competitive is to make plants do some of the work themselves. Scientists can engineer plants to produce valuable chemical compounds, or bioproducts, as they grow. Then the bioproducts can be extracted from the plant and the remaining plant material can be converted into fuel. But one important part of this strategy has remained unclear — exactly how much of a particular bioproduct would plants need to make in order to make the process economically feasible?

Nature-Inspired Green Energy Technology Clears Major Development Hurdle

A new material design has put the long-sought idea of artificial photosynthesis within reach.

The Wild World of Microbe-Made Products – Skis Now Included

Biomanufacturing – harnessing biological processes in cells and microbes to design and manufacture products – is revolutionizing how we make everything from futuristic consumer goods to sustainable fuels to breakthrough medicines. Every biomanufactured product can be traced back to discoveries in the lab, but translating that science into a real-world product can be tricky. Berkeley Lab is helping to move great ideas, like outdoor gear made from algae oil, from conception to commercialization.

Scientists Find a Molecular Switch for Better Biofuels

Adapted from an original release published by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Read the full story here  Plant cell walls contain a renewable, nearly-limitless supply of sugar that can be used as a carbon source for microbe-based chemical and biofuel production. However, retrieving these sugars isn’t all that easy. Imidazolium ionic liquid (IIL) solvents are some

Beyond Biofuels: Berkeley Lab Facility a Catalyst for Broader Bio-based Economy

When the DOE’s Advanced Biofuels Process Development Unit (ABPDU) at Berkeley Lab commenced operations in 2012, the initial focus was on overcoming barriers to biofuel commercialization. To date, the ABPDU has entered into agreements with more than 30 partners.

New Way to Reduce Plant Lignin Could Lead to Cheaper Biofuels

Scientists have shown that an enzyme can be tweaked to reduce lignin in plants. Their technique could help lower the cost of converting biomass into carbon-neutral fuels to power your car and other sustainably developed bio-products.

Seeing the Big Picture in Photosynthetic Light Harvesting

Berkeley Lab scientists have created the first computational model that simulates the light-harvesting activity of thousands of antenna proteins that would interact in the chloroplast of an actual leaf. The results point the way to improving the yields of food and fuel crops, and developing artificial photosynthesis technologies for next generation solar energy systems.

One-Stop Shop for Biofuels

Researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have developed a “high-gravity” one-pot process for producing ethanol from cellulosic biomass that gives unprecedented yields while minimizing water use and waste disposal.

How to Train Your Bacterium

Berkeley Lab researchers are using the bacterium Moorella thermoacetica to perform photosynthesis and also to synthesize semiconductor nanoparticles in a hybrid artificial photosynthesis system for converting sunlight into valuable chemical products.

JBEI Joins Elite 100/500 Club

The Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) is now a member of the elite “100/500 Club,” having filed its 100th patent application and published its 500th scientific paper. JBEI is a DOE Bioenergy Research Center led by Berkeley Lab.