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E – 1117 Introduction to Biofuels


Biofuels include ethanol from grain or sugar, diesel fuel from soybeans, ethanol from cellulosic feedstock, and several other feedstock/fuel combinations.  This course provides information about the Biomass Research and Development Board’s seven point Action Plan for development of biofuels.  There is also information about and a comparison among the wide variety of possible biofuels, with greatest emphasis on those either already in commercial production or close to commercial production capability.  There’s detail about the production of ethanol from cellulosic feedstocks, which still needs some development work, but has great near term potential.  Finally there is information about switchgrass, which has great potential as a crop to be used as a cellulosic feedstock for ethanol production.


This course is intended primarily for energy, civil, chemical, environmental, mechanical and industrial engineers.  Someone completing this course will gain knowledge about basic biofuel technologies.


In this course, you need to review the material in the course content file, which is made up of four NREL and DOE documents: National Biofuels Action Plan  (http://www1.eere.energy.gov/biomass/pdfs/nbap.pdf);   From Biomass to Biofuels, NREL Leads the Way  (http://www.nrel.gov/biomass/pdfs/39436.pdf);  Research Advances Cellulosic Ethanol, NREL Leads the Way  (http://www.nrel.gov/biomass/pdfs/40742.pdf); and Biofuels from Switchgrass: Greener Energy Pastures  (http://bioenergy.ornl.gov/papers/misc/switgrs.html). Once you complete your course review, you need to take a multiple-choice quiz consisting of fifteen (15) questions to earn 3 PDH credits. The quiz will be based on the entire document.

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