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Biomass is an organic renewable energy source that includes materials such as agriculture and forest residues, energy crops, and algae. Scientists and engineers at the Energy Department and National Laboratories are finding new, more efficient ways to convert biomass into biofuels that can take the place of conventional fuels like gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel.

Learn how the Energy Department is working to sustainably transform the nation's abundant renewable resources into biomass energy.


The Future of Bioenergy Is in this Book-less Library
Energy and fuels derived from biomass could someday provide a portion of the nation’s energy needs. | Photo courtesy of Idaho National Laboratory.

One of the National Labs is building a high-tech library of biomass samples and information for bioenergy researchers.

6 New Things Happening with Biofuels

The science and industry of biofuels is changing rapidly. See what’s new with the fuels of the future.

Harnessing Biotechnology to Accelerate Advanced Biofuels Production
Improving Access to Energy-Rich Sugars. Ning Sun is part of a team of researchers in the Energy Department's Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) Deconstruction Division exploring methods to pretreat biomass. | Image courtesy of JBEI

Advances in synthetic biology—which involves engineering biological systems for new uses—can offer innovative solutions to improve advanced biofuel production. This, in turn, can speed up the development and commercialization of biofuels, making them attractive and affordable to industrial manufacturers.

World’s First Algae Surfboard Makes Waves in San Diego
Surfing into the Future

Energy Department-funded scientists at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) California Center for Algae Biotechnology have successfully demonstrated a uniquely Californian solution to replacing fossil fuels—surfboards made from algae.

Making Algal Biofuel Production More Efficient, Less Expensive

Tiny algae can play a big role in tackling America's energy challenges. Recent scientific breakthroughs and projects, funded by the Energy Department’s Bioenergy Technologies Office, have resulted in a number of advancements that are helping make algal biofuel more cost competitive and widely available.