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EGEE 439 - Alternative Fuels from Biomass Sources

This is a sample syllabus.

This sample syllabus is a representative example of the information and materials included in this course. Information about course assignments, materials, and dates listed here is subject to change at any time. Definitive course details and materials will be available in the official course syllabus, in Canvas, when the course begins.


This course will examine the chemistry of technologies of bio-based sources for power generation and transportation fuels.


Students who excel in this course are able to:

  • describe various biomasses that can be utilized for energy and fuel generation;
  • explain the composition of various processes necessary for biomass processing;
  • utilize the necessary chemistry, as well as mass and energy balances that would be utilized in a biorefining facility;
  • analyze how to utilize biofuels in current fuel infrastructure;
  • illustrate what is required in a biorefinery.

Required Materials

Typically, there are no required materials for this course. If this changes, students will find a definitive list in the course syllabus, in Canvas, when the course begins.


CHEM 110 or comparable general chemistry course.


We have worked hard to make this the most effective and convenient educational experience possible. How much and how well you learn is dependent on your attitude, diligence, and willingness to ask for clarifications or help when you need them. We are here to help you succeed. Please keep up with the class schedule and take advantage of opportunities to communicate with us and with your fellow students. You can expect to spend an average of 8 - 10 hours per week on class work.

Major Assignments

Homework and Quizzes (35% of total course grade)

Homework and quizzes will include written activities related to the lesson content and supplemental readings. It may include summaries and calculations.

Discussion (5% of total course grade)

Discussions will allow students to discuss topics related to the lesson content and supplemental readings.

Exams (25% of total course grade)

Exams will be given to assess students' understanding of lesson concepts.

Final project reports and presentations (35% of total course grade)

The final project will be a written biorefinery report and presentation.

Course Schedule

Course Schedule
  • Why Alternative Fuels from Biomass?
  • None
  • Existing Fossil Fuel Technologies - Transportation
  • Basics of petroleum refining
  • Chemistry of liquid fuels for various engines
  • Quiz #1
  • Use of Biomass in Thermal Technologies
  • Combustion of biomass
  • Gasification of biomass
  • Homework #1
  • Biomass Pyrolysis and Pretreatment
  • Pyrolysis of biomass
  • Pretreatment methods
  • Exam #1
  • General Ethanol Production
  • Biochemistry of enzymes
  •  Quiz #2
  • Processing to Produce Ethanol and Butanol From Carbohydrates and Enzymes
  • Biochemical processing to produced ethanol
  • Biochemical processing to produce butanol
  • Discussion #1
  • Thermochemical Methods to Produce Biofuels
  • Chemical processing to produce ethanol, butanol, and other chemicals
  • Exam #2
  • Final Project Outline
  • Biodiesel Production
  • Chemistry of fats and oils
  • Processing of fats and oils to make biodiesel and biojet fuels
  • Quiz #3
  • Algae as a Source for Fuels
  • Algae growth and methods of extraction and conversion
  • Final Project Rough Draft and Presentation(Video recording)
  • Economics of Biomass Production – Ethanol, Butanol, and Biodiesel
  • None
  • Additional Processes for Fuels from Biomass
  • Anaerobic digestion and other gases
  • Quiz #4
  • Final Project Report
  • Final Project Presentations
  • Final Project Presentations (Video recording)