Sandia National Laboratories
Exceptional service in the national interest
Sandia provides the foundational science and technology to enable the production of renewable, high performance fuels and bio-advantaged products from biomass. Sandia’s biomass science and conversion research facilitates and safeguards the nation’s bioeconomy.
Sandia focuses on lignocellulosic, waste and algal biomass feedstocks. Sandia’s unique capabilities encompass the areas of advanced imaging and spectroscopy, lignin characterization, high-throughput enzyme assays, microfluidic devices for biofuels research, systems analysis, techno-economic modeling, and computational bioscience for advanced bioproducts and biofuels production.
Lignocellulosic biomass is one of the most abundant plants on Earth and is a critical feedstock to produce renewable fuels and products. Lignocellulose is a mixture of complex sugars and lignin, a non-carbohydrate polymer that provides strength and structure to plant cell walls. By extracting simple fermentable sugars from lignocellulose and producing biofuels, the potential of the most energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable non-food feedstock can be realized.
Sandia is focused on:
Algal strain improvement develops highly productive algal strains that resist predators and environmental stressors and are suitable for cultivation in large-scale algal farming operations.
Strain improvement R&D includes:
Commercial scale algae production could meet the transportation fuel needs of the United States. Algal biofuels use a relatively small land area compared to lignocellulosic fuels—fuels produced from agricultural waste or energy crops. Microalgae consume CO2 as a nutrient, grow using impaired (e.g., brackish) water sources on land that does not compete with food, and produce much higher fuel yields than other biomass feedstocks grown on land.