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Biorefinery: From Biomass to Building Blocks of Biobased Products
About this courseSkip About this course
The use of fossil resources is a controversial topic and there is much scientific research to argue against their use for energy, chemicals, and in the production of almost every product. Because of this, we're seeing a huge shift towards sustainable biobased and renewable resources and away from fossil-based ones. In this new world, it's critical to know how to efficiently and effectively obtain valuable elements from biomass.
Join the MOOC Biorefinery: From Biomass to Building Blocks of Biobased Products and gain the latest academic knowledge on biorefinery which can be applied to their ongoing studies or to advance their careers.
Just as the petrochemical refinery is a crucial part of the fossil-based industry,so is the biorefinery for the biobased industry. In a biorefinery, a complex biobased feedstock is separated and processed in such a way to maximize sustainability and application opportunities. Upon completing this course, you will understand the tools and techniques needed to efficiently disentangle, separate and convert different biomass based feedstocks into simpler (functional) components.
First, you'll learn about available techniques and processes for biomass activation, disentanglement and separation. Next, you'll explore how to design a biorefinery taking into account feedstock and sustainable energy use and dive into:
- Mass and energy balances
- Design of biorefinery process units to obtain multiple products from one type of biomass
- How to recover energy and resources in the biorefinery system
- Evaluation of the designed system with respect to sustainability and economic criteria
- Evaluation of criteria for successful implementation
This course is part of the MicroMasters Program in Chemistry and Technology for Sustainability: a series of 3 courses and a final capstone project designed to help you develop the skills needed to seize opportunities and embrace the transition from a fossil-based economy to a biobased one.It'sespecially valuable to those who have (or ambition to have) a career in industries such as: (bio)chemical industry, agrifood water companies, energy producers, logistics, and related (non-)governmental organizations.
Explore the other courses in the MicroMasters Program:
- Catalytic Conversions for Biobased Chemicals and Products
- From Fossil Resources to Biomass: A Business and Economics Perspective
- Capstone - Final project and exam (only available to learner who have obtained a verified certificate in all other courses of the MicroMasters Program).
At a glance
- Language: English
- Video Transcript: English
- Associated programs:
- MicroMasters® Program in Chemistry and Technology for Sustainability
What you'll learnSkip What you'll learn
After this course you will be able to:
- Choose proper (chemical) pre-treatment and conversions to arrive at the required products
- Conceptually design a biorefinery process
- Critically evaluate a process design with respect to energy and feedstock efficiency
- Compare that design with fossil-based processes
- Know how to activate/disentangle and separate biobased feedstocks
Module 1: Introduction to Biorefinery
In this introduction module you will get acquainted with the general concepts of biorefineries. Use our diagnostic test to check if you need to get additional information before starting with the next module.
Module 2: Biomass and Biorefineries
Let's take a closer look at biomass, what components can be found in them and how to get these out as value-adding compounds. This module focuses on the refinery of naturally occurring compounds, such as oils and proteins.
Module 3: Conversion
In this module we zoom in on fermentation as a bioconversion method. Based on the case of the acetone-butanol-ethanol fermentation by Clostridium species, we will illustrate the use of fermentation in biorefineries.
Module 4: Downstream Processing
This module highlights several methods used to separate fermentation broth into different streams. You will learn how to effectively get your product out!
Module 5: Process Evaluation and Improvements
Let's zoom out and look at the biorefinery process as whole. Find out how you can improve a process with respect to energy use, side-streams recovery, and economics.
Module 6: Case Study: Process Design
You will learn to use the flow-sheeting software SuperPro Designer to design a bio-butanol process. You will look at the different steps needed to convert and separate the product. In addition you will look at a biorefinery process and propose relevant improvements using the knowledge acquired in the course.
Learner testimonialsSkip Learner testimonials
" This course shows how biomass can be used most efficiently and teaches the usefulness of the biorefinery concept further. It gave me more insights in the technologies that are required for the transition to a biobased economy. After following this course, I wanted even more strongly to make this transition happen.”
" This course was really interesting and promising for you to know more about biomass conversion to valuable products of chemical, material and energy. "
About the instructors
Frequently Asked QuestionsSkip Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have questions about the MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and/or related online programmes of Wageningen University & Research? To help you find answers to your questions, we created a list with frequently asked questions about enrolling, participating in- and finishing a MOOC.