About BESC

The BioEnergy Science Center (BESC) is a multi-institutional (18 partners), Department of Energy-funded research organization performing basic and applied science dedicated to improving yields of biofuels by focusing on the fundamental understanding and elimination of biomass recalcitrance. This multidisciplinary research encompasses the biological, chemical, physical, and computational sciences, as well as mathematics and engineering.

Mission Statement

To enable the emergence of a sustainable cellulosic biofuels industry by leading advances in science and science-based innovation resulting in removal of recalcitrance as an economic barrier to cost-effective production of biofuels.

Research Focus Areas

BESC research is organized around its strategic goals.

Key Strategic Research Goals

  • Develop a fundamental understanding of the molecular basis of recalcitrance and cell wall formation.
  • Identify and characterize a high-performing set of poplar and switchgrass TOP reduced recalcitrance lines.
  • Understand microbial cellulose utilization at all levels, including enzyme components, enzyme systems, pure cultures, and mixed cultures.
  • Achieve proof of concept for consolidated bioprocessing (CBP) with C. thermocellum, yeast, and Caldicellulosiruptor spp.
  • Develop and apply chemical, immunological, physical, and imaging methods to characterize biomass; use the resulting data to build models to predict the relationships between biomass structure and recalcitrance.

Top BESC Science Accomplishments

See additional research highlights and Timeline.