Perspectives on Biorefineries in Microbial Production of Fuels and Chemicals: Article No. 1202269

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Microbes drive our complex biosphere by regulating the global ecosystem through cycling elements and energy. Humankind has barely begun leveraging this biotransformation capacity to impact global economies and ecologies. Advances in genetic engineering, molecular analysis, metabolic flux modeling, microbial consortia/biome mapping and engineering, cell-free bioproduction, artificial intelligence/machine learning and the ever expanding -omics frontiers have set the stage for paradigm changes to how humankind produces, uses, transforms, and recycles carbon and energy through microbes. Harnessing this enormous potential could drive a global bioeconomy and manage carbon at a planetary level but requires understanding and application at a grand scale across a broad range of science and engineering disciplines. The penultimate manifestation of these advances is the "bio-refinery", which is often referenced, but is a long way from being fully developed as a global carbon management platform. Broadening the feed stocks, processing operations, and product portfolio to a sequential cascade optimizing the conversion as a whole instead of limited outputs could greatly advance deployment and stability of a bioeconomy.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Industrial Microbiology
StatePublished - 2023

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2700-85929


  • bioconversion
  • bioeconomy
  • biofuels
  • biorefinery
  • carbon management
  • industrial microbiology


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