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Wageningen University

From Fossil Resources to Biomass: A Chemistry Perspective

Wageningen University via edX

Overview

The upcoming years are all about creating a sustainable future where it is necessary to move away from fossil resources and explore and implement the opportunities that biomass as a renewable energy source gives us.

Join this course if you want to learn how to create a sustainable future by moving away from dependence on fossil resources to biomass resources for the production of food, chemicals and energy-carriers. You will learn what biomass is, how to produce biomass renewable energy- and biomass fuel and how to make biobased products.

You will get a solid understanding of how chemistry works in a biobased economy and in the production of biomass renewable products. Your valuable knowledge will help your company drive into sustainability and actually make the transition to use biomass resources to produce biobased products.

You will learn about the products that can be derived from biomass and the processes used to do so.

We will explore catalytic conversion of biomass by discussing types of catalysts, special challenges for catalysis when converting biomass into biomass energy and the interplay of catalysis and up/down stream processes. Then we dive into biorefinery. Biorefinery deals with the challenge of extracting valuable biomass components and converting them to final products. To achieve this you first need knowledge of the different types of biomass, the molecules present and their chemical characteristics. Biorefinery is all about efficient processing. Aspects of processing include the harvesting, pre-treatments, conversion and separation technologies.

Stating the obvious; a biobased economy runs on biomass. To apply the gained knowledge to the production of crops, it is therefore important to understand which factors play a major role in crop growth, yield formation and quality. In this module you’ll learn to identify design criteria for the production of biobased crops on both crop- and farm level.

Join the MicroMasters programme

This MOOC is part of two MicroMasters Programs:
Economics and Policies for a Circular Bio-Economy and
Business and Operations for a Circular Bio-Economy.

The Business and Operations for a Circular Bio-Economy MicroMasters Program will provide you with the knowledge and tools to analyse the business and operations side of the switch to biobased products.

The MicroMasters Program Economics and Policies for a Circular Bio-Economy covers the economic and policy side of converting biological resources into biobased products. You will able to contribute substantially to managerial decision-making as well as policy development. Both programmes consist of 3 courses and a final project; the capstone.

Explore the other courses in the MicroMasters programmes:

  • Economics and Policies in a Biobased Economy or Business Strategy and Operations in a Biobased Economy
  • Circular Economy: An Interdisciplinary Approach
  • Capstone Economics and Policies for a Circular Bio-Economy or Capstone Business and Operations for a Circular Bio-Economy

Syllabus

1: Introduction to Biobased Sciences

Learn about the products that can be derived from biomass and the processes used to do so, compared to current fossil based products and processes.

2: Biomass Production

A biobased economy runs on biomass. It is therefore important to understand which factors play a major role in crop growth, yield formation and quality. In this module you’ll learn to identify design criteria for the production of biobased crops on both a crop and farm level.

3: Biorefinery

Biorefinery deals with the challenge of extracting valuable biomass components and converting them to final products. To achieve this you first need knowledge of the different types of biomass, the molecules present and their chemical characteristics. Biorefinery is all about efficient processing.

Aspects of processing include the harvesting, pre-treatments, conversion and separation technologies.

4: Bioconversion

Learn how to convert molecules through microbial processes. Find out how to choose the right host organism and how choices in process design influence cell growth, substrate conversion and product formation.

5: Chemical Conversion

Explore catalytic conversion of biomass by discussing types of catalysts, special challenges for catalysis when converting biomass and the interplay of catalysis and up/down stream processes.

Taught by

Harry Bitter, Maria Barbosa, Corjan van den Berg, Paul Struik, Elinor Scott and Jacqueline Bloemhof

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