BETO 2021 Peer Review - Catalytic Upgrading of Biochemical Intermediates (CUBI)

Rick Elander, Zhenglong Li, Vanessa Dagle, Cameron Moore, Derek Vardon, David Johnson

Research output: NRELPresentation


The Catalytic Upgrading of Biochemical Intermediates (CUBI) project is a multi-lab effort within ChemCatBio (CCB) that is focused on improving the catalytic upgrading of intermediates from biochemical deconstruction and/or biological conversion (i.e. fermentation) to fuels and chemical co-products. This is accomplished by developing catalysts with improved performance and durability, mitigating the impact of biogenically-derived inhibitors (including water), and evaluating intensified processes to reduce separations requirements and improve carbon utilization. Specific catalytic upgrading routes being developed are: 1) fermentation-derived 2,3-butanediol (BDO); 2) fermentation-derived carboxylic acids; and 3) lignocellulosic sugar-derived furfurals. These routes represent key technology pathways being investigated within BETO's biochemical conversion portfolio. By utilizing experimental and characterization capabilities and modeling tools across the 4 CUBI labs and collaborations with CCB Enabling Projects, the CUBI project is advancing catalytic upgrading process performance and robustness. Its impact is already well-established by several high-impact journal articles and patent publications, along with industrial engagement in related, competitively-awarded collaborations. The CUBI project will result in >25% MFSP cost reduction in the catalytic upgrading section of integrated biochemical conversion routes, as quantified by ongoing TEA modeling.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages64
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-5100-79284


  • biochemical deconstruction
  • biological conversion
  • chemical co-products
  • fermentation
  • fuels


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