The biorefinery is similar in concept to the petroleum refinery, except that the process technologies transform renewable, biomass materials rather than crude oil. Biorefining process equipment derives from the chemical, pharmaceutical, food processing, and forest products industries.

Although many of the basic process technologies for biorefining can trace roots back one hundred years or more, scientific advances within the past five to twenty years have dramatically improved the commercial viability of many biorefining processes.

Process profiles

Below is a list of prominent biorefining process technologies for feedstocks available in Wisconsin. The list is representative rather than comprehensive, and will grow and evolve to keep pace with rapid advances in technology. Each profile may be printed, downloaded, or viewed on-line. The information is introductory, with links and references to individuals and organizations that can provide more detailed information.

Each profile begins with a description of appropriate feedstocks, and provides a list of examples. Selecting a feedstock link will open the profile for that biobased feedstock. The biorefining technology profiles also link to potential biobased products. By following this structure, one discovers that many biorefining technologies can convert a diverse set of feedstocks into a broad range of biobased products.