On July 30, 2017, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) sponsored the Cell-Free Synthetic Biology and Biocatalysis Listening Day in Denver, Colorado. This event aimed to investigate how cell-free biocatalysis and cell-free synthetic biology may serve to advance the emerging bioeconomy. BETO sought input from experts representing industry, academia, and national laboratories on the state of technology and its applicability to enabling enhanced carbon cycling and next-generation biofuels, bioproducts, and biomaterials.

Recent advances in synthetic biology are expanding the potential markets for the bioeconomy and presenting new tools to synthesize and produce advanced biobased products. New biotechnologies to enable cell-free synthetic biology and cell-free biocatalysis are emerging, and this listening day investigated how they may support BETO efforts to promote novel conversion technologies and platforms to produce fuels, chemicals, materials, and other biobased products. A key focus of discussion was the opportunities and barriers to applying the technology as a stand-alone conversion platform, as an enabling tool to inform research and development of whole-cell in vivo systems, or both. 

This workshop advanced the DOE mission by exploring investment and research opportunities for an emerging biotechnology with potentially significant implications. The results will be published in a publicly available report with the objective of informing both public- and private-sector planning in the future.

Contact Us

For more information about the Cell-Free Synthetic Biology and Biocatalysis Listening Day, please contact David Babson.


To view presentations from the workshop, visit the workshop presentations web page.


Additional information on the schedule and specific sessions is available on the Cell-Free Synthetic Biology and Biocatalysis Listening Day Agenda.


View the Cell-Free Synthetic Biology and Biocatalysis Listening Day Speakers web page for a full list of speakers and biographies.


The Brown Palace Hotel

321 17th Street

Denver, CO 80202