The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced the establishment of the Bioenergy Separations Consortium (BioESep)—a consortium of eight DOE national laboratories leading coordinated research to move cost-effective, high-performing separations technologies to market. Separations processes can involve physical processes, like separating solids from liquids, or chemical processes, like purifying mixtures of molecules. To convert biomass to biofuels, many challenging separations are required, such as removing water from algae or taking contaminants out of sugar streams, before microbes or catalysts can further process them to fuels or products.
Led by Argonne National Laboratory, BioESep kicked off Dec. 1, 2016, with a meeting on the National Renewable Energy Laboratory campus. BioESep is made up of five technical and analysis teams, a steering committee, and an advisory board composed of industrial and academic stakeholders. The technical teams will work to address separations challenges in eight of BETO’s priority conversion routes to hydrocarbon biofuels.