Building Beyond Tomorrow

Beyond Biology

As we transition from petroleum-based products and animal-based proteins, synthetic biology and precision fermentation will lead the way to more sustainable products and processes. Synthetic biology, a burgeoning scientific discipline, focuses on engineering organisms with enhanced capabilities to tackle practical challenges such as pollution remediation and resource allocation. It allows scientists to modify genes and create organisms for specific jobs like medicine or biofuel.

An extraordinary opportunity to optimize resources and enhance competitiveness.

Precision fermentation processing, central to synthetic biology, harnesses cutting-edge technology to convert plant-based feedstocks into high-value commodities. Just as we control fermentation to make beer or yogurt, we can use it to create food ingredients, biofuels or performance materials. The precision fermentation industry is projected to reach $11.8 billion by 2028, with the potential to generate one million jobs by 2030—presenting an extraordinary opportunity for the US to optimize resources and enhance competitiveness on a global scale.

A visionary proposal to revolutionize synthetic biology and fermentation processing.

Illinois is home to the Central Illinois Fermentation and Agriculture Biomanufacturing (iFAB) Hub, a U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) Tech Hub. iFAB is led by the Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory (IBRL) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in partnership with Archer Daniels Midland Company, Primient and Clarkson Grain Company. This visionary proposal seeks to revolutionize synthetic biology and fermentation processing, driving economic growth and fostering innovation for a sustainable future. The state is home to the largest bioprocessing plants in the world, ADM and Primient, and a leading producer of soybean and corn feedstocks. As such, our state is uniquely positioned for biomanufacturing expansion with a well-established infrastructure, intermodal logistics, and room to scale large manufacturing facilities that would prove more logistically challenging in densely-populated areas. Illinois also has a vibrant AgTech startup community and an industry concentration supported by the renowned Integrated Bioprocessing Research Lab at the University of Urbana-Champaign.

Recent News

Beyond Biology

Growing industry: UI, partners seek $70 million grant to promote ag tech

Local and regional partners are working on a federal grant application to help promote biomanufacturing in Champaign, Macon and Piatt counties.
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Beyond Biology

Local pipefitter expertise supports growing biomanufacturing industry in Central Illinois

New initiatives led by the Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 149 and the Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory (IBRL) are training more skilled tradespeople to support this rapidly growing industry in ...
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Beyond Biology

iFAB Tech Hub partners IBRL and BBP scale fermentation tech, jobs in Central Illinois

The Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Research Park startup Boston Bioprocess are part of the Illinois Fermentation and Agriculture Biomanufacturing Hub, a newly designated EDA Tech Hub.
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