Agile BioFoundry

Evaluating bioenergy strains to streamline processing


PNNL is working with national lab partners to streamline and standardize biomanufacturing processing.

Any well-oiled machine is developed through iterative steps of design, build, test, and learn. Similarly, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office’s Agile Biofoundry uses these steps to streamline and standardize biomanufacturing processing that leads to the development of biofuels and renewable chemicals.

The Agile BioFoundry provides facilities, tools, and knowledge to public and private partners to accelerate biomanufacturing and help DOE commercialize these fuels and chemicals. The target: achieve a 40 percent reduction in energy intensity and 60 percent reduction in carbon intensity over current manufacturing processes, and reduce product time-to-market by 50 percent.

Testing is PNNL’s role

PNNL leads the test component of the Agile BioFoundry, conducted in support of consortium team members and industry partners. Our researchers evaluate bacterial, fungi, and algae strains generated during the earlier design and build components performed by their national laboratory team members. In the test component, PNNL uses a multi-omics approach, combining proteomics (protein expression), metabolomics (metabolite expression), and genomics (gene expression) to understand the capacity of an organism to produce bioproducts and biofuels.

Since the Agile BioFoundry launched in 2016, the PNNL bioenergy research team has performed nearly 3,000 analyses of complex biological strains using a combination of omics measurements.

Other members of the Agile BioFoundry team include Argonne, Lawrence Berkeley, Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, and Sandia national laboratories, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.