Feedstock conversion interface consortium

Many challenges facing today’s biorefineries stem from the fact that, unlike grain or coal, the physical, chemical, and mechanical characteristics of biomass can vary widely. Leveraging expertise and experience across the biorefinery chain, the Feedstock-Conversion Interface Consortium (FCIC) brings together leading researchers to tackle these issues. Led by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the FCIC is an integrated and collaborative network of nine National Laboratories, industrial and academic advisors, and Direct Funding Opportunity partners in industrial sectors, all dedicated to help solve these challenges.

The consortium connects industry technology experts with the capabilities and equipment at partnering National Laboratories to gain a better understanding of how biomass properties effect biorefinery throughput and yield. With that knowledge, the FCIC will create industrially relevant tools and strategies to improve supply, preprocessing, and conversion designs.

The FCIC is funded by two DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy technology offices:

Under BETO, the FCIC is funded through both the Feedstock Supply and Logistics and Conversion Technologies research and development subprograms.

Learn about the FCIC’s research areas, capabilities, and partners.


The FCIC is taking a first-principles approach to understand the fundamental origins of biomass feedstock variability across the bioenergy value chain and then to mitigate the negative impacts of this variability.

Many challenges facing today’s biorefineries stem from the fact that biomass is different from more familiar agricultural commodities, like grain or barley. The physical, chemical, and mechanical characteristics of biomass materials, like agricultural residues, are very different from traditional agricultural products. In addition, they can vary widely among different biomass types, among different anatomical fractions within a single biomass type, and can change over time. Because of this, the empirical knowledge regarding the harvest, transport, storage, and conversion developed for agricultural commodities has not proven helpful to the emerging biorefinery industry.

Bioenergy Value Chain

The FCIC is organized into tasks that span the bioenergy value chain. By linking these processes through research, the FCIC will fully understand how variability in one operation affects other operations and can address upstream and downstream needs and interactions.

Flowchart using multicolor, spherical icons to show the bioenergy value chain from harvest, to transport, to storage, to preprocessing, and finally to conversion.

Quality by Design

The FCIC is using a Quality by Design (QbD) approach to organize and understand each unit operation in the bioenergy value chain. In this paradigm, control of the overall process comes from understanding each unit operation alone and as part of the overall value chain.

The QbD approach was first developed by Dr. Joseph Juran and is widely used in the pharmaceutical industry.


The FCIC is led by three DOE technology managers, laboratory relationship managers from each participating lab, a principal investigator, and a project manager. Learn more about the FCIC leadership team.

The FCIC consists of nine DOE National Laboratories and an Industry Advisory Board, as well as industry, university, and other DOE consortia partners. Learn more about the FCIC partners.

Research Results and Data

The FCIC utilizes a LabKey-based FCIC Bioenergy Data Hub to track and store data and results. Database access is currently restricted to consortium members. Access can be requested by contacting fcic@nrel.gov.


Questions about the consortium? Contact the FCIC.

Return to FCIC home page.