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A photo of a large piece of laboratory equipment. A silver metal box sits on top of a blue metal box with open sides. Many tubes and wires are coming out of the blue box. A large white pipe connects the silver box to a reactor.

The Molecular Beam Mass Spectrometer analyzes vapors during the gasification and pyrolysis processes.

NREL's biomass projects are designed to advance the production of liquid transportation fuels from biomass. Researchers explore biomass characterization, biochemical and thermochemical conversion processes, the chemicals and catalysts that optimize conversion, and how the steps of the process integrate with one another. Additionally, the viability of algae as a feedstock is a re-emerging area of research. Analysts support the R&D by studying market needs, technoeconomic drivers, and partnership opportunities for the commercialization and deployment of biofuels.

NREL supports the U.S. Department of Energy's Bioenergy Technologies Office in its R&D and analysis efforts with the objective of meeting:

  • A near-term goal to demonstrate a modeled, cost-competitive, biochemically derived ethanol price ($1.33–$1.49/gallon) by 2012
  • A longer-term goal to demonstrate biofuels technologies that can contribute to the production of 36 billion gallons of biofuels per year by 2022 and 60 billion gallons of biofuels per year by 2030.

Learn about NREL's biomass research, development, and deployment projects in: