BESC and Industry
Translating research results from the BioEnergy Science Center (BESC) into the testing of applications and potential commercial deployment is an important step toward reaching the Department of Energy's bioenergy objectives. Using a "commercialization council" of technology transfer and intellectual property (IP) management professionals from partner institutions, BESC evaluates the commercial potential of new inventions arising from BESC research and promotes and facilitates the licensing of BESC IP. See this page for easy access to BESC IP available for licensing.
Results from BESC's Biomass Deconstruction and Conversion research are being tested and applied by industrial partners Mascoma Corporation and DuPont. BESC works with Mascoma to test on a pilot scale the first consolidated bioprocessing yeast strains able to express multiple hydrolytic enzymes while remaining robust enough to produce ethanol with little to no added commercial enzymes. Other yeast strains are studied at various levels—including pathways, enzymes, carbohydrate-active enzymes (CAZymes), protein domains, single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), and indels—to identify functionally significant variations. BESC partners with DuPont to test improved plant lines in a bench-top simulation of the company's commercial process for lignocellulosic biofuel production.
Other direct interactions with industry include partnering with Ceres, ArborGen, and GreenWood Resources, Inc., to evaluate improved bioenergy feedstocks. For example, Ceres and BESC are conducting field trials of modified switchgrass lines. Preliminary results from these trials, which are approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, closely follow those from greenhouse and laboratory studies. For field testing of woody feedstocks, ArborGen generates stable poplar transgenic species, including lines with altered cell wall composition. GreenWood Resources operates one of the field sites in a study examining 1,000 natural poplar variants.
To learn more about BESC's industry program, please contact: Renae Speck, manager of BESC Technology Transfer and Partnerships, Phone: 865-576-4680, Email: Renae Speck.
See also, BESC brochure.