Press Releases

Announcements, Articles, In the News



BETO Funding Recipients to Collaborate with ABPDU

BETO is providing $1 million in vouchers to assist five companies advance their energy technologies in Round 2 of the DOE’s Small Business Vouchers Pilot. Of the five companies, three will be collaborating with ABPDU. They are:

  • ZymoChem, Berkeley and Emeryville, California (partnership with LBNL): ZymoChem is engineering microbes to eliminate carbon loss during the production of chemicals, such as adipic acid, from renewable feedstocks by designing completely new biosynthetic pathways. ZymoChem will work with the LBNL Advanced Biofuels Process Demonstration Unit (ABPDU) to validate E. coli’s capability to tolerate high product concentrations during fermentation and demonstrate the ability to recover purified products for customers to evaluate.
  • HelioBioSys, Woodside, California (partnerships with LBNL and SNL): In order to validate cyanobacteria as a renewable source of sugar for biofuel production, HelioBioSys needs to evaluate growth on a larger scale in outdoor conditions to obtain monomeric sugar types and yields, fermentation suitability, and by-product opportunities. Data generated from this study at the LBNL ABPDU and SNL’s indoor algal testbed facility will improve their existing techno-economic model and improve HelioBioSys’ ability to secure funding for a pilot test facility.
  • Mango Materials, Albany, California (partnerships with LBNL and LANL): Mango Materials has a biogas fermentation process to produce sustainable and biodegradable biopolymers. The company is seeking to improve its ability to cost-effectively separate and de-water polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) from the fermentation broth and non-PHA cell mass. The goal is to further develop a cost-effective separation process for intracellular products with a path forward to scale-up at the LBNL ABPDU.

BETO Announces Laboratory Call for Proposals

The Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) has issued a Laboratory Call for Proposals for projects to increase engagement between bioenergy small businesses with high growth potential and the DOE national laboratories by providing access to laboratory assets. Each project can receive up to $40,000 to support BETO’s goals, including production of biofuels compatible with today’s transportation infrastructure as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions relative to petroleum-derived fuels. The national labs must submit the proposals, but small businesses may volunteer to be the business partner. Proposals are due July 31, 2016, with expected date of notification of selection by August 31. For more information or to express interest in partnership with ABPDU, write to

ABPDU Participates at EERE’s National Lab Impact Summit

On May 4, 2016, EERE hosted a National Lab Impact Summit at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to celebrate recent National Laboratory successes and bring together the nation’s public- and private-sector energy leaders to formulate the next stage of clean energy technology innovation. The full-day program included keynote presentations, break-out panels by technology, discussions with industry-leading Chief Technology Officers, interactive exhibits, networking opportunities and tours.

The Summit included a presentations about Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s lab technology-to-market programs such as Lab-Corps. Two teams of researchers from the Biosciences Area participated in the second round of training of Lab-Corps. ABPDU’s Deepti Tanjore and JBEI’s Joshua Heinemann (team BioAlchemy) and JBEI’s Robert Haushalter, Jorge Alonso‐Gutierrez and ABPDU’s Todd Pray (team Evodia) concluded the rigorous seven-week training. More on their projects can be found here.

Read more about the National Lab Impact Summit

Bioenergy Technologies Office’s Director Refers To ABPDU’s Achievement

The Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts Process Demonstration Unit (ABPDU) is mentioned in an article by Jonathan Male, Director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) on the integration of the production of biofuels and bioproducts. Male referred to pre-pilot-scale production of malonic acid from pure non-food sugar as a model for cellulosic sugars by industrial biotechnology company Lygos Inc., which was successfully achieved at the ABPDU.

ABPDU Enters into New Federal Strategic Partnership Program Agreements

The Advanced Biofuels Process Demonstration Unit (ABPDU) has entered into Federal Strategic Partnership Program agreements with three new companies to develop and scale up processes in renewable chemical production (Ardra Bio), sustainable food product development (Hampton Creek), and biobased chemical production (Ginkgo Bioworks).

ABPDU Researchers Participate in Lab-Corps Program Training

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Lab-Corps program has announced a second round of training for entrepreneurial teams at the national labs. Lab-Corps aims to accelerate the transfer of clean energy technologies from the national labs to the marketplace by training and empowering national lab researchers to successfully transition their discoveries into high-impact, real world technologies in the private sector. The training which involves 14 project teams from seven DOE national labs began this week in Golden, Colorado. The rigorous seven-week training follows the path of a typical start-up accelerator.

Berkeley Lab’s Biosciences Area has two teams of researchers participating in this second round of training. ABPDU’s Deepti Tanjore (Principal Investigator) and JBEI’s Joshua Heinemann (Entrepreneurial Lead)  from the Biosciences Biological Systems & Engineering Division (BSE) form team BioAlchemy. They have developed a new microfluidic technology (microNIMS) for high-throughput screening of cellulose degrading enzymes.

Also from BSE is team Evodia which includes JBEI’s Robert Haushalter (Principal Investigator), Jorge Alonso‐Gutierrez (Entrepreneurial Lead), and ABPDU’s Todd Pray who serves as Industry Mentor. Evodia is developing engineered microbes to convert inexpensive, renewable sugars into high-value specialty chemicals.

The teams will graduate on May 5 and will join the Lab-Corps alumni network.

To learn more about the Lab-Corps training and the 14 national lab teams visit the EERE webpage.

Lygos Accelerates Commercialization of Bio-Malonic Acid

Lygos has been awarded a $300,000 Small Business Voucher from the U.S. Department of Energy helping to accelerate scaleup and commercialization of the malonic acid technology. The voucher will be used to run Lygos’ bio-malonic acid fermentation process at up to 7,000-liter scale at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and to validate process performance using cellulose-derived sugars at the Advanced Biofuels Process Development Unit (ABPDU). Lygos will purify the malonic acid produced at NREL and the ABPDU, producing high-purity bio-malonic acid derived from cellulosic sugars.

Berkeley Lab to Collaborate with Small Businesses to Commercialize Clean Energy Products

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) will partner with four clean energy small businesses to accelerate the commercialization of their innovative bioenergy, buildings and vehicle technologies as part of the Small Business Vouchers (SBV) pilot launched in July 2015 by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). One of those companies is Lygos, Inc., which has partnered with the Advanced Biofuels Process Demonstration Unit (ABPDU) in the past to achieve pilot-scale production of malonic acid from sugar. Lygos will conduct the necessary testing at the APBDU to overcome current barriers to scale-up, and then move production to the large-scale fermenters at DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Innovative Microvi Bio-Ethanol Technology Validated at ABPDU

In the first phase of the Microvi-ABPDU collaboration, Microvi’s biocatalytic technnology yielded impressive performance, including a near doubling of bio-ethanol productivity.

Why We Have a Joint BioEnergy Institute: The Story of Ionic Liquids

The development of ionic liquids, and the potential for a transformative impact on the cost and sources of renewable fuels, demonstrates why DOE created a clutch of integrated bioenergy research centers.

How’s the progress? Lookin’ good.