The lab opened in 2008. They help convert things like farming by-products into diesel and aviation fuel. However, PNNL officials admit, with the economic downturn in 2009, it's been tough getting the developed technologies into the hands of the energy industry.
They emphasize science is a slow and steady field.
"We're not going to be able to electrify jet airlines -- they need liquid transportation fuels. And to have a renewable source of fuels for those kind of industries is critical for us," said PNNL Biomass Sector Manager PhD John Holladay.
Officials say a partnership with WSU is growing. Since opening, they're up to about 40 students with five professors.