BioSTEAM: The Biorefinery Simulation and Techno-Economic Analysis Modules#

BioSTEAM enables the design, simulation, techno-economic analysis (TEA) and life cycle assessment (LCA) of biorefineries across thousands of scenarios for streamlined uncertainty and sensitivity analyses. Complete biorefinery configurations are available at the Bioindustrial-Park GitHub repository, BioSTEAM’s premier repository for biorefinery models and results. The long-term growth and maintenance of BioSTEAM is supported through both community-led development and the research institutions invested in BioSTEAM, including the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation (CABBI). Through its open-source and community-lead platform, BioSTEAM aims to foster communication and transparency within the biorefinery research community for an integrated effort to expedite the evaluation of candidate biofuels and bioproducts.

Scientific Papers#

Several studies have leveraged the BioSTEAM platform to compare conversion technologies and chart development pathways for various bioproducts:


BioSTEAM’s main components can be categorized by 4 functionality levels:

  • Automation of the simulation of large sets of scenarios is facilitated by Model objects which define Parameter and Metric objects that dictate the input and output features of the model.

  • Simulation is carried out by System objects, which can be created without supplying any information on the order of unit simulation. After simulation, TEA objects can perform cashflow analysis to solve for a number of financial indicators.

  • Equipment design, costing, and utility requirements are evaluated by Unit objects. All built-in and custom unit operations are subclasses of Unit. Adjustments can be made to the heating and cooling agents of the HeatUtility class (e.g., steam pressure, price) as well as the electricity price of the PowerUtility class.

  • Thermodynamic equilibrium and mass and energy balances are facilitated by Stream objects, which define material flows, temperature and pressure. Chemical properties and models are imported from thermo, a community-driven open-source library developed by Caleb Bell.


If you have an installation of Python with pip, simple install it with:

$ pip install biosteam

To get the git version, run:

$ git clone --depth 10 git://

Common Issues#

  • Cannot install/update BioSTEAM:

    If you are having trouble installing or updating BioSTEAM, it may be due to dependency issues. You can bypass these using:

    $ pip install --user --ignore-installed biosteam

    You can make sure you install the right version by including the version number:

    $ pip install biosteam==<version>
  • Unit and system diagrams are not displaying:

    BioSTEAM uses Graphviz to make flowsheet diagrams. To properly install Graphviz in an anaconda distribution, please run the following line:

    $ conda install graphviz

    Additionally, please follow the following instructions for installing graphviz on windows.


Indices and tables#