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Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

About Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Managed by the University of California, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory conducts unclassified research across a wide range of scientific disciplines. Berkeley Lab's energy efficiency innovations have contributed more than $484B to the U.S. economy and we are delighted to partner with small businesses to solve some of their most pressing challenges across the areas of buildings, bio-energy, advanced manufacturing, vehicles, fuel cells and geothermal research and technologies. Strategically located in the Bay Area ecosystem of innovation, Berkeley Lab creates 12,000 jobs and contributed $1.6B to the US economy annually.


Berkeley Lab’s bioenergy activities take place primarily at two facilities: the Advanced Biofuels/Bioproducts Process Demonstration Unit (ABPDU), a user facility, and the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), a research institute that works with companies.

ABPDU staff help businesses take bio-innovations to market, through biomass evaluation, experimenting with microorganisms, optimizing processes, and performing assays and analyses. Facility staff collaborate with users to optimize and scale technologies to enable commercialization of bio-based chemicals, materials, and fuels.

The JBEI mission is to turn biomass to biofuels that replace gasoline, diesel, and jet fuels, through advanced tools in molecular biology and chemical engineering, including computational and robotic technologies.

Unique Capabilities

ABPDU (up to 300 L Fermentation):

Deconstruction, through pretreatment and saccharification

Fermentation, using microorganisms and recombinant organisms

Purification & Advanced Recovery, using various process configurations

Analytical Chemistry, continuously improving processes

Materials Handling & Solids Characterization, focusing on specific structures and properties for end-user applications

Techno-Economic Analysis, software tools and team expertise to characterize process flows and economics incorporating development data and commercial assumptions.


Research, to develop new biological systems, processes, and technologies

Feedstocks, focusing on plant systems biology, cell wall biosynthesis, grass genetics, and cell wall engineering

Deconstruction, focusing on biomass pretreatment, enzyme optimization, fungal biotechnology, and microbial communities

Fuels Synthesis, evaluating biofuels pathways, synthetic biology informatics, host engineering, quantitative metabolic modeling, and metabolic engineering


Bioenergy User Facilities

Advanced Biofuels/Bioproducts Process Demonstration Unit

Bioenergy Research Facilities

Joint BioEnergy Institute

Berkeley Lab also is home to the following User Facilities, operated by the Lab for the U.S. Department of Energy.

Equipment and Instruments: ABPDU

For Deconstruction: Pretreatment

  • 10L Parr Reactor
  • 10L Basket Centrifuge
  • 210 L Andritz Hastelloy Reactor
  • 6m3/hr Andritz Decanter Centrifuge

For Deconstruction: Saccharification

  • 2L IKA Reactor
  • 50L IKA SPP50 Reactors
  • 10L Basket Centrifuge
  • 210 L Andritz Hastelloy Reactor
  • 6m3/hr Andritz Decanter Centrifuge

For Fermentation

  • 2L Reactors
  • 50L ABEC Bioreactor
  • 300L ABEC Bioreactor
  • 15L Bioengineering Bioreactor

Equipment and Instruments: JBEI

Inventory of Composable Elements (ICE), a cloud-based open-source DNA part, plasmid, microbial strain, and Arabidopsis seed repository

VectorEditor, a DNA editing and annotation tool

DeviceEditor, a biological computer-aided design canvas

j5, a cloud-based DNA assembly protocol design automation

PR-PR, a open-source laboratory automation programming platform.

MASCP Gator, a proteomics aggregation utility

1001 Proteomes, a simple way to browse changes to proteins

Plant Protein Alignment and Phosphorylation Resource

Technoeconomic Model Wiki, models of various aspects of lignocellulosic biofuel production

Find more tools at the JBEI Research Tools website.

Additional Information

Photo of a scientist working with a large metal machine in a laboratory.
Photo of a hand holding a bottle of pretreated slurry and several bottles with liquid showing in the background of the hand holding the bottle.
Photo of a scientist holding up a large beaker with orange liquid inside and lab equipment in the background.