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What is cellulosic biomass?


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?


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.


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


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


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.