A new integrated facility designed to give scientists unprecedented insights into the chemical and biological reactions which can transform renewable plant and waste materials into useful sources of energy was dedicated yesterday at the U.S. Department of Energys (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
Called the Biomass Surface Characterization Laboratory (BSCL), the $2.85 million facility features an array of electron and optical microscopes, and other advanced research tools, to probe biomass-to-energy processes at the most basic atomic and molecular levels. "This unique laboratory will further enhance the capabilities of our world-class biomass research team," said Michael Pacheco, director of the National Bioenergy Center, located at NREL. "It is our fervent hope that by assembling the best research equipment available within this new facility, we will hasten the day when our abundant biomass resources can be harnessed to cleanly and economically meet the nations critical energy needs."
The new laboratory will support development of new technologies for bio-refineries—which will produce transportation fuels and a range of other products, much as a conventional oil refinery does today. Bio-refineries are to use renewable plant and waste materials instead of petroleum.
Gary R. Schmitz | EurekAlert!
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