The interactive map above highlights biorefinery projects funded by the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) at pilot, demonstration, and pioneer scales. Adjust the map filters to control the information displayed.
Integrated biorefineries use novel technologies and diverse biomass feedstocks—requiring significant investments in research, development, and deployment to reduce costs, improve performance, and achieve competitiveness with fossil fuels. Our partner biorefineries are demonstrating the technical and economic viability of integrating and scaling up a range of innovative technologies—fostering private investment in the growing U.S. bioeconomy. Learn more about these facilities through our infographics:
Pilot Scale: Alpena
Further information about BETO's integrated biorefinery (IBR) projects is available in the IBR Portfolio Overview fact sheet brochure and below.
A crucial step in developing the U.S. bioindustry is to establish first-of-a-kind integrated biorefineries that are capable of efficiently converting a broad range of biomass feedstocks into commercially viable biofuels, biopower, and other bioproducts. Integrated biorefineries are similar to conventional refineries in that they produce a range of products to optimize both the use of feedstocks and production economics.
Integrated biorefineries employ various combinations of feedstock and conversion technologies to produce a variety of products, with the main focus on producing biofuels. Co-products can include chemicals (or other materials), animal feed, and heat and power. The renewable feedstocks utilized in integrated biorefineries include the following:
- Energy crops, such as switchgrass, miscanthus, willow, and poplar
- Agricultural, forest, and industrial residues, such as bagasse, stover, straws, forest thinnings, sawdust, and paper mill waste
- Other waste sources such as CO2, water treatment, or food processing wastes
- Algae and other micro-organisms.
Federal support for first-of-a-kind integrated biorefineries can help validate costs and performance, thus reducing the technical and financial risks associated with deploying new technology for the U.S. bioeconomy.
Engineering-Scale System Testing for the SDI Portfolio
The SDI portfolio includes development of first-of-a-kind engineering-scale systems that will be tested in relevant environments. Funded projects will typically be integrated technology verifications, where a system or component is tested at the engineering scale for the first time in an experimental prototype. Realistically, it’s expected that after testing, additional applied research refinements will be needed. Those refinements will be fed back into BETO’s research and development (R&D) following a successful development phase. Verifying these technologies at smaller, partially integrated scales is essential to reduce risk and technology uncertainty, and will enable applied R&D programs to reduce costs and improve performance in feedstock and conversion processes.
Support of the integrated testing and pilot-scale work will continue through the SDI program. BETO plans to leverage previous investments in integrated process development, pilot-scale, and systems research capabilities at universities, as well as at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) national laboratories including the:
- National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Integrated Biorefinery Research Facility and Thermal and Catalytic Process Development Unit
- Idaho National Laboratory's Biomass Feedstock National User Facility
- Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Advanced Biofuels Process Development Unit
- Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Hydrothermal Liquefaction Skid.
For more information on BETO’s past integrated biorefinery (IBR) projects, see the Integrated Biorefineries Map above.