From Plants to Bioenergy

Course content

The course will provide the theoretical basis for understanding carbon and nitrogen sequestration in plants, the biosynthesis and structure of type I and type II plant cell walls, introduction to enzymes for plant polymer conversion and methods for processing and conversion of biomass into solid and liquid energy carriers. New breeding technologies will be provided and strategies for utilizing candidate genes in molecular breeding for plants with improve biomass conversion potential presented. Use of life-cycle assessment for comparing bioenergy production methods will be provided.

There is a demand for a sufficient understanding of the molecular breeding and carbohydrate chemistry to develop technologies for this new direction in the roadmap of biofuel study and production.This international course is based on the premise that demands are set by EU and globally for utilization of bioenergy in transportation by converting lignocellulosic biomass into ethanol and other liquid energy carriers.

Topics covered are:

  • Cell wall components and their structure
  • New plant breeding strategies for biomass improvement
  • Carbon and Nitrogen partitioning
  • Conversion technologies for biomass to energy carriers
  • LCA of bioenergy production
  • General principles of circular bioeconomy
  • Biomass production from farming, forestry, and algae
Education

MSc Programme in Agriculture
MSc Programme in Biology-Biotechnology
MSc Programme in Forest and Nature Management
MSc Programme in Environmental Science

Learning outcome

Learning Outcome


Knowledge

  • Describe the structure and biochemistry of carbohydrates, cellulose, lignin and hemicellulose
  • Describe plants as ligno-cellulosic, starchy or sugar and oil crops  for bioenergy
  • Describe molecular breeding towards altering biomass make-up
  • Describe the function of hydrolytic enzymes important for plant polymer conversion
  • Summarize processing and conversion of biomass to solid, liquid and gasious energy carriers


Skills

  • Compare differences in cell wall structure and composition between plant species
  • Describe chemical, mechanical, and microbial operations and techniques used in biomass conversion
  • Familiar with genetic tools to modify biomass composition
  • Identify target genes encoding enzymes relevant for bioconversion
  • Participate in academic discussions on sustainability of bioenergy production systems


Competencies

  • Assessment of C- and N- sequestration in different crop plants in response to growth condition
  • Be able to propose a complete conversion route for a specific biomass to a suitable energy carrier.
  • Propose an ideal crop plant for bioenergy

A combination of foundation lectures, calculation exercises, excursions to industry, self studies, poster presentation and discussion.

See Absalon for course literature. Articles, laboratory notes and monographs.

A basic knowledge of agriculture and forestry production, breeding and biotechnology are required

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

Written
Oral
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

feedback on written exercises will be in writing and oral

Otherwise oral feedback in discussion

Poster preparation and presentation: oral feedback peerfeedback

ECTS
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination, 4 hours under invigilation
Poster presentation 20%, and written exam 80%
Aid
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

See learning outcome

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 4
  • Excursions
  • 20
  • Preparation
  • 60
  • Lectures
  • 70
  • Practical exercises
  • 4
  • Project work
  • 20
  • Theory exercises
  • 28
  • English
  • 206