Sustainable Biomass Conversion

Generating multiple products from plant biomass

At Great Lakes Bioenergy, we are focused on enabling a new and different biorefinery, one that is both economically viable and environmentally sustainable. Realizing this goal will mean increasing the efficiency and sustainability of biomass conversion and generating a mix of specialty biofuels and bioproducts from as much of a plant’s biomass as possible.

Our research seeks to boost industry economics by finding new ways of processing biomass at low cost, producing a variety of fuels for use in multiple engine types, and converting as much material as possible into bioproducts that are valuable to industry. Research in efficient biomass conversion includes:

  • Improving methods for feedstock-agnostic biomass deconstruction and separation by the renewable solvent γ-valerolactone (GVL) and broad-specificity glycosyl hydrolases (GHs).
  • Identifying metabolic burdens and lignocellulosic hydrolysate stresses and how they pose barriers to efficiently producing isobutanol (IBA).
  • Designing new platform microbes capable of producing targeted bioproducts from conversion residues created when producing specialty biofuels.
  • Devising feedstock-agnostic GVL- and GVL-enzyme methods that provide lignin and sugar for conversion to specialty biofuels and bioproducts.
  • Validating engineered biofuel microbes that can efficiently produce IBA or methylbutenol (MBO) in GVL-deconstructed lignocellulosic biomass from diverse bioenergy crops.
  • Engineering next-generation platform microbes that produce a range of high-value bioproducts from specialty biofuels conversion residue.