BETO 2021 Peer Review - Bench Scale Integration WBS

Research output: NRELPresentation


Bench Scale Integration develops and optimizes fermentation processes to produce bio-based fuels and chemicals from biomass sugars. The project uses fermentation science to achieve high titers and production rates by, for example, manipulating how the microorganisms are fed biomass sugars and nutrients, modifying fermentation conditions (pH, temperature, aeration) or developing online control strategies that increase production rates. For this period of performance, we conducted small scale fermentation research using strategies mentioned to produce 2,3-butanediol (BDO) from biomass utilizing NREL's proprietary Zymomonas mobilis microorganism. BDO is a versatile chemical which can be catalytically upgraded to a variety of hydrocarbon fuels and chemicals. The 3-yr project goal was to increase BDO titers from 50 g/L (FY17 level) to 125 g/L on biomass sugars by 2020. This is a 150% increase in titer showing the commercial potential of Z. mobilis while reducing the cost to downstream processing. We successfully achieved this target. The project also showed yearly progress improvements to the process design case by using a whole biomass slurry. Future work will focus on procedures for scaling to produce large quantities of BDO broth for separations and upgrading R&D and improve the titer and rates from biomass whole slurry. Our goal is to produce 100 g/L BDO titer from whole slurry at >1000L by 2023 which will meet the technical targets set by our techno-economic analysis.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages22
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NamePresented at the U.S. Department of Energy's Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) 2021 Project Peer Review, 8-12, 15-16, and 22-26 March 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-2700-79309


  • bio-based fuels
  • biomass
  • fermentation


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