Ten years ago, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory announced the opening of a brand new, 15,000-square-foot facility full of stainless steel state-of-the-art bioprocessing equipment – what we now know as the Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts Process Development Unit, or ABPDU, was officially open for business.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office, ABPDU set out to provide a boost to the development of advanced biofuels – renewable fuels that produce at least 50% less greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels. ABPDU’s facility would serve as an industry-scale proving ground for biofuel discoveries made at lab bench-scale.
At the same time, the world of biotechnology was booming. A wave of new startups emerged, aiming to use the power of biology to create sustainable, bio-based products to replace those made with fossil fuels. Over time, ABPDU evolved to meet the needs of this industry, collaborating with companies and academic partners developing various bioproducts that affect our everyday lives.
Building up the bioeconomy
Over the years, ABPDU has helped dozens of collaborators scale-up innovative biotechnologies and transition them to the marketplace – from skis made with algae oil and sustainable indigo dye to waste-derived biofuel precursors and even COVID-19 testing and treatment technologies.
By utilizing ABPDU’s capabilities, small companies and startups don’t have to spend time and money building up their own facilities. Instead, they take advantage of ABPDU’s equipment and expertise to prove their technologies can scale to an industry level and generate prototype materials – important milestones to demonstrate to potential investors.
ABPDU has served as a resource for the Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Research Centers, which are research partnerships focused on improving and scaling up advanced biofuel and bioproduct production processes, and collaborated with over 65 industry partners. Many of these partners have set up their own labs or pilot plants, secured additional funding, and launched their own products as a direct result of working with ABPDU.
Read more at https://abpdu.lbl.gov/.