PNNL & WSU Open Biomass Research Lab

Washington State University (WSU) and the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have opened a new facility for the advancement of biomass research. At the Bioproducts, Sciences, and Engineering Laboratory (BSEL), WSU and PNNL plan to work together to develop new solutions to commercialize new technology and provide students with a hands-on educational experience. The new US $24.8 million facility is located on the WSU Tri-Cities campus.

Researchers at BSEL will create a portfolio of biobased products and fuels that could help reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign petroleum and carbon footprint of energy use. Researchers will focus on biofuels that are more efficient to produce and more compatible with the existing fuels infrastructure than today’s biofuels.

The research will advance conversion technologies that can be used with a variety of feedstocks, including non-edible cellulosic biomass and crops specifically grown for fuel. Construction of BSEL was funded by WSU’s higher education construction budget and a 20-year lease agreement between WSU and Battelle, which operates PNNL.

“Cellulosic ethanol is a critical component of the President’s comprehensive strategy to diversify our nation’s energy sources in a sustainable manner, enhance energy security and address the serious challenge of global climate change,” said Andy Karsner, DOE Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “BSEL’s work to develop and deploy clean and affordable renewable fuels will prove pivotal as the Bush Administration works aggressively to mitigate climate change and meet the rapidly growing demand for energy.”

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