The Agile BioFoundry: Investing in Biomanufacturing Infrastructure

G. Beckham
National Renewable Energy Laboratory,
United States

Keywords: biomanufacturing, biorefinery, biofoundry


The overall goal of this project is to enable a biorefinery to achieve a positive return on investment through a 50% reduction in the time-to-scale up of fuel and chemical production, compared with the current average of ~10 years. To accomplish this, we have established a distributed Agile BioFoundry, consisting of a consortium of nine National Labs, which will productionize synthetic biology for industrially relevant, optimized chassis organisms. The Agile BioFoundry will constitute a public infrastructure investment that increases U.S. industrial competitiveness and enables new opportunities for private sector growth and jobs. Key challenges to be addressed include the efficient catalytic upgrading of sugars/aromatics to fuels and chemicals; costs of production; and data availability across the supply chain. The outcomes of this project will include a 10-fold improvement in Design-Build-Test-Learn engineering biology cycle efficiency, and new intellectual property and manufacturing technologies effectively translated to U.S. industry ensuring market transformation.