The Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) is a San Francisco Bay Area scientific partnership led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and includes the Sandia National Laboratories (Sandia), the University of California (UC) campuses of Berkeley and Davis, the Carnegie Institution for Science, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). JBEI’s primary scientific mission is to advance the development of the next generation of biofuels – liquid fuels derived from the solar energy stored in plant biomass. JBEI is one of three new U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Research Centers (BRCs).


Converting biomass into fuels.

Research Programs


JBEI research is focused on the efficient conversion into fuels of lignocellulosic biomass, the most abundant organic material on the planet. Lignocellulose is a mixture of complex sugars and lignin, a non-carbohydrate polymer that provides strength and structure to plant cell walls. By extracting simple fermentable sugars from lignocellulose and producing biofuels from them, the potential of the most energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable fuel crops can be realized. To promote breakthroughs and rapid commercialization of its biofuels research, JBEI is organized into four interlocking divisions:  Feedstocks, Deconstruction, Fuels Synthesis, and Technologies.

Researchers in JBEI’s Feedstock Division are developing specialty biofuel plants whose fermentable sugars can be more easily deconstructed. Researchers in JBEI’s Deconstruction Division develop new and improved ways to “pretreat” biomass to enhance its deconstruction into fermentable sugars. JBEI researchers in the Fuels Synthesis Division are using the tools of synthetic biology to engineer new microbes as an alternative to yeast that can quickly and efficiently ferment these complex sugars into advanced biofuels. JBEI researchers in the Technologies Division are finding ways to advance scientific research that can speed the development of biofuels. 

Industry Partnerships & Education

JBEI’s Industry Partnership Program provides companies with opportunities to contribute to JBEI and become a part of the JBEI research community. JBEI promotes interest in science through educational outreach programs with students and the general public.  These programs include internships, seminars, and collaborations with academic and industry-based science institutions. 


Jay Keasling
Telephone: (510) 495-2620


Harvey Blanch
Telephone: (510) 486-7069


Ellen Ford
Telephone: (510) 486-4905


Jay Keasling

(510) 495-2620

Mailing Address

Joint BioEnergy Institute, 1 Cyclotron Rd., MS: 978-4121, Berkeley, CA 94720; Physical Address: Joint BioEnergy Institute, 5885 Hollis St., 4th Floor, Emeryville, CA 94608