History & Foundation

How We Got Here

The DOE national laboratories have state-of-the-art, complementary, and unique capabilities that are being brought to bear to build powerful infrastructure and scientific engineering activities to render design and implementation of new bio-based products scalable, predictable, and more cost-effective.

In 2016, the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) supported Agile Biomanufacturing to execute initial work to provide proof-of-concept for the Agile BioFoundry (ABF). EERE provided $3M for the ABF as a distributed consortium of nine DOE national laboratories. The $3M was intended to establish the ABF, and support complementary biological engineering efforts in industry and academia.

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Where We're Going

Moving forward, the primary goal of the ABF is to enable 50 percent reductions in time to scale-up compared to the current average of around ten years. The effort will focus on establishing a distributed Agile BioFoundry, with targeted outcomes including a tenfold improvement in Design-Build-Test-Learn biological engineering cycle efficiency, new microbial host organisms, and market transformation through the effective translation of new intellectual property and manufacturing technologies to U.S. industry.

Central to this effort will be the development of databases and machine learning methods that enable the automated design of bioprocesses with predictable performance and scaling. The ABF will develop industrially relevant host microbes (bacteria, fungi, and algae) for robust production of commodity chemicals and biofuels. Because the effort is focused on challenges in the industrial chemicals and fuels sector, there will be no work on human or other mammalian cells or genomes.

Ultimately, the ABF will constitute a public infrastructure investment that increases U.S. industrial competitiveness and enables new opportunities for private sector growth and jobs.