Technological Scale-Up and Piloting Research

NREL's scale-up and piloting researchers develop, scale, and integrate the production of climate-friendly sustainable aviation fuels and carbon dioxide-based fuels, materials, and chemicals.

One researcher in a hard hat working on equipment in a lab.

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Our researchers support delivery of technologies and solutions to market by implementing pilot projects and developing technical value and supply chain networks for commercialization and deployment. Our extensive capabilities include:

  • Engineering design for separations of target products
  • Development of catalytic pathways and systems that are robust and scalable
  • Scale-up science for target products, enzymes, and processes
  • Engineering solutions for technology scale-up and piloting
  • Waste-to-energy technical assistance for local governments.

Bioprocessing Separations

Separating target products from complex mixtures in bioreactors is traditionally energy intensive. NREL research focuses on reducing energy requirements to recover target products while maintaining and even improving high yields.

Scale-Up Capabilities in Catalytic Carbon Transformations

Using computational modeling and system design/build expertise, NREL researchers design, synthesize, and characterize catalytic systems for use in both research and industrial environments.

Science for Technology Scale-up and Market Impact

Our researchers aim to de-risk and accelerate commercial deployment using process science, process engineering, and computational tools to bridge the gap between basic and applied science and technology demonstration. Integrating systems at the smallest possible scale minimizes budgetary, safety, and schedule risks of scaling up technologies with low-carbon intensity.

Technology Scale-Up and Piloting Operations

NREL's experienced team of engineers and technicians designs, installs, operates, and maintains various process systems and sophisticated, integrated, thermochemical and biochemical pilot plants to perform R&D on conversion of renewable feedstocks.

These pilot facilities are available for R&D and process development and can produce performance data necessary to accelerate commercialization.

Waste-to-Energy Technical Assistance for State, Local, and Tribal Governments

NREL provides U.S. state, local, and tribal governments with technical assistance to advance waste-to-energy technologies using organic waste resources including food waste, wastewater sludge, and animal manure. In implementing waste-to-energy projects, our technical assistance team addresses:

  • Knowledge gaps
  • Specific challenges
  • Decision-making considerations
  • Planning
  • Project implementation strategies.

How NREL's Scale-Up and Piloting Capabilities Impact the Bioeconomy

Explore how NREL's scale-up and piloting research team is partnering to drive market impact.

Flagship Projects

These are key collaborative research efforts in scale-up science and engineering:

Bioprocessing Separations Consortium

Scale-up of Fischer-Tropsch and Hydro-Cracking System

Scaling Up Biocrude-Derived Anode Material.


Contact Tom Foust to leverage these capabilities and expertise or learn more about partnering with us.