Crop Biotech Update

Research Facility to Promote Advancement in Biomass Research for Biofuels

May 16, 2008

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and Washington State University (WSU) in the United States, announced the establishment of the “Bioproducts, Sciences, and Engineering Laboratory” (BSEL) at the WSU Tri-Cities campus. According to the PNNL news release, the laboratory facility is dedicated to the advancement of biomass research. Among the research targets of the BSEL is the creation of a “portfolio of biobased products and fuels” which can reduce American dependence on foreign petroleum and reduce the country’s carbon footprint. On the biofuels front, research activities will focus on the development of biofuel conversion technologies which can be applied on a broad range of feedstocks, including non-edible cellulosic biomass.

 An important feature at the BSEL is its “high bay facility”, which can enable researchers to test new concepts on pilot scale or near industrial scale scenarios, thus helping research to move faster from laboratory to commercial scale applications. US-DOE (Department of Energy) Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Andy Karsner, says the "BSEL's work to develop and deploy clean and affordable renewable fuels will prove pivotal as the Bush Administration works aggressively to mitigate climate change and meet the rapidly growing demand for energy."