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Bioenergy Program

Idaho National Laboratory's (INL’s) Bioenergy Program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Biomass Program, embraces the “Whole Crop Utilization” concept (using the entire crop, including the grain and traditionally discarded plant biomass) to produce food, feed, fiber, and energy. 

Program Goal

The goal of INL’s program is to overcome key technical barriers facing the U.S. bioenergy industry by systematically researching, characterizing, modeling, demonstrating, and harnessing the physical and chemical characteristics of the nation’s diverse agricultural residues to more cost-effectively produce biofuels and other value-added products. The result of this research will be that, by 2010, the costs associated with producing 300 million tons of cellulosic feedstock on an annual basis will be reduced by up to 50% less than what the costs were in 2002 when target baseline costs were formally established. And in a broader sense, the success of this effort will have a direct and positive impact on DOE's transportation fuel goals and the nation’s energy needs.


Expertise from INL's Biofuels and Renewable Energy Technologies and Biological Systems Departments and are used to leverage key multidisciplinary capabilities and advanced systems and technologies with key agricultural and industrial partners. With this foundation, INL effectively addresses feedstock harvesting, fractionation and separation, preprocessing, storage, and pretreatment and transportation systems.

Research Laboratories and Capabilities

Four major INL research laboratories are employed to research, develop, and demonstrate the systems and technologies needed to meet DOE’s program requirements. They are the Biomaterials Deconstruction and Composition, Computational Engineering and Simulation, Post-Harvest Physiology and Storage, and the Feedstock Assembly and Preprocessing Laboratories. Listed together, their research functions include the following:

  • Identify sufficient, sustainable agricultural residue supplies
  • Ddocument and update feedstock resource data for all significant agricultural residue resources and provide access to the national feedstock database via the Internet
  • Develop technologies and methods to harvest and collect sufficient quantities of agricultural residues on an annual basis
  • Develop and demonstrate innovative feedstock storage methods
  • Demonstrate feedstock transportation cost reductions
  • Demonstrate preprocessing technologies that produce agricultural residue resources with bulk, flowable properties
  • Develop and validate optimum process and cost models for sustainable feedstock supply systems
  • Show that agricultural residue feedstocks could be supplied to biorefineries within target cost ranges.

Biomass Reports and Articles

Biomass Commodity Feedstock Supply Systems Report

Uniform-Format Feedstock Supply System Design

Billion Ton Report

The Biomass Feedstock Supply Roadmap

Multiyear Program Plan

The Biochemical Refinery Process Design

The Thermochemical Refinery Process Design

Cellulosic Biomass Feedstocks and Logistics for Ethanol Production

Convergence of Agriculture and Energy: II. Producing Cellulosic Biomass for Biofuels

Ethanol: Energy Well Spent

Feedstock and Conversion Supply System Design and Analysis

U.S. Country Report Update 2014

Page Contact Information:

Department of energy

DOE Office of Nuclear Energy
DOE-Idaho Office