Integrated Biorefinery Research Facility

NREL's Integrated Biorefinery Research Facility (IBRF) enables researchers and industry partners to develop, test, evaluate, and demonstrate processes and technologies for the production of bio-based products and fuels.

Interior of industrial, two-story building with high-bay, piping, and large processing equipment. Three workers in hard hats.

In addition to the facility itself, NREL's world-renowned expert staff works with IBRF partners at every stage of process development, from exploratory process R&D through to pilot-scale process runs.

Capabilities

  • Versatility in handling a wide range of biomass feedstocks and pretreatment processes
  • Ability to accommodate and incorporate equipment from partners or third-parties into end-to-end process integration and evaluation tests
  • High-quality process performance data generation supported by automated data acquisition and process control systems along with world-class chemical analysis
  • Expertise to integrate multiple technologies for pilot-scale testing and process validation
  • Experience developing intellectual property and helping industrial partners commercialize technologies.

Testing Facilities and Laboratories


Photo of a large, industrial space with two floors of testing equipment.

Biochemical Conversion Pilot Plant

The IBRF's 27,000-ft2, high-bay biochemical conversion pilot plant accommodates bench-to-pilot-scale processes for converting cellulosic biomass into a variety of fuels and chemicals at process throughputs of up to one ton of dry biomass per day.

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Photo of a woman in a white lab coat and safety glasses placing samples for testing into a small, box-like piece of equipment; and next to the equipment is a computer.

Compositional Analysis Laboratories

Experienced analytical chemists and chemical technicians staff the IBRF's compositional analysis labs. In addition to producing comprehensive biomass analysis results and standard biomass laboratory procedures, they can also customize analytical methods for new sample types.

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Fuel Testing Laboratories

Advanced biofuels produced in the IBRF can be tested and analyzed in NREL's fuel testing laboratories. Process performance data generated in the IBRF can be incorporated into techno-economic and life-cycle analysis models to estimate market feasibility, cost sensitivities, and environmental sustainability attributes of commercial-scale production.


Facility and Laboratory Equipment

The IBRF features the following testing systems and lab equipment:

Feedstock handling equipment

Dynamic impregnator reactor system

Continuous horizontal screw-type reactors

Continuous vertical reactors

Enzymatic hydrolysis reactors

Fermentation systems

Tangential flow membrane filtration system


Contact

For contacts, see Work with Us.