Economic and Environmental Assessment of Biological Conversions of Agile BioFoundry (ABF) Bio-Derived Chemicals

P. Thathiana Benavides, Bruno Klein, Ryan Davis

Research output: NRELPresentation


Bio-derived chemicals are an essential part of the growing bioeconomy. They possess the potential to boost a new domestic bioproduct industry, improve the sustainability of integrated biomanufacturing, and reduce U.S. dependence on fossil energy. The Agile BioFoundry (ABF) consortium, a Department of Energy (DOE)-sponsored collaboration, is investigating biobased pathways to produce advantaged products including advanced biofuels, fuel intermediates, and bioproducts. ABF is integrating advanced computational tools for biological engineering, process design and data analysis, and economic/sustainability modeling tools into a comprehensive and dynamic platform for biomanufacturing of microbes and using them to produce key metabolic intermediates or beachhead molecules which may be derivatized into several distinct bioproducts of industrial interest. In this presentation, we first discuss a methodology to select a single exemplar product molecule to represent each beachhead pathway based on similarities with other end-molecule options (yields/titers/rates, fermentation operation mode, oxygen requirements, general separations challenges, etc.), in order to maintain a reasonable number of cases for rigorous process simulation. We then use techno-economic analysis (TEA) and life-cycle analysis (LCA) to highlight sensitivities and trends around economic performance and environmental footprint, reflecting examples for two selected ABF technology pathways to bio-derived chemicals: 1) adipic acid production via muconic acid fermentation from mixed sugars with Pseudomonas putida and 2) cineole via geranyl diphosphate with Rhodosporidium toruloides. We present multi-variable scan plots highlighting key drivers on costs and greenhouse gas emissions in order to identify the parameter space in which each pathway could ultimately achieve economic and environmental sustainability meeting or exceeding commodity product benchmarks, thus prioritizing future R&D focus areas.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages16
StatePublished - 2020

Publication series

NamePresented at the 2nd Bioenergy Sustainability Conference, 13-15 October 2020

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-5100-78106


  • agile
  • biorefinery
  • LCA
  • sustainability
  • TEA


Dive into the research topics of 'Economic and Environmental Assessment of Biological Conversions of Agile BioFoundry (ABF) Bio-Derived Chemicals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this