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What is cellulosic biomass?

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Cellulosic biomass comprises all non-edible plants—trees, grasses, algae, and the indigestible parts of food crops, such as corn stalks, leaves, and cobs.

What are drop-in biofuels?

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Most of today's biofuels require changes to the fuel infrastructure, from the refineries to the pump at your gas station. Many also require modified vehicles. In contrast, drop-in biofuels are one-to-one replacements for today's fuels. Drop-in biofuels require no changes to the infrastructure or vehicles, making them easier to use.

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NREL's Integrated Biorefinery Research Facility (IBRF) enables researchers and industry partners to develop, test, evaluate, and demonstrate how to produce bio-based products and fuels while reducing the performance risk and improving the commercial viability of new production processes.

The IBRF accommodates bench- to pilot-scale processes for converting cellulosic biomass into many fuels and chemicals at daily process throughputs of up to one ton of dry biomass.

Cost-Competitive Cellulosic Ethanol

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Ethanol made from cellulosic biomass could replace 30% of U.S. petroleum consumption. NREL has demonstrated the technical advances needed to produce cellulosic ethanol at $2.15/gallon, proving it can be cost competitive with other transportation fuels.

Tomorrow's Fuels

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NREL and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are co-leading a national consortium to commercialize processes for drop-in fuels. The consortium winnowed down the list of possible biomass technologies to make drop-in biofuels and prepared two processes, based on fermentation and catalytic conversion, for development to the pilot scale.

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Learn more about NREL's bioenergy innovation impacts.