EGEE 439
Alternative Fuels from Biomass Sources

Lesson 1: Why Alternative Fuels from Biomass?


Not everyone likes the idea of using biomass for energy. From an industrial perspective, it competes with coal and petroleum industries. There is a great deal of skepticism regarding the production of ethanol and how much energy is used to make it. Many people don't understand its value or how it can be incorporated into the current energy portfolio. This lesson will explain why using biomass as an energy source is smart and can alleviate increasing demand for energy, and I will try to be as objective and truthful as possible. You will also read some excerpts from books that take a particular slant on bioenergy use. And you'll also see that some sources have a hidden agenda that may not be the best strategy for incorporating biofuels.

Lesson Objectives

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • explain why biofuels are a necessary part of our energy portfolio;
  • evaluate different books or articles on biofuels to determine their agendas and the ways they may slant their publication in a way that may not be truthful or helpful.

Lesson 1 Road Map

This lesson will take us one week to complete. Please refer to the Course Syllabus for specific time frames and due dates. Specific directions for the assignments below can be found within this lesson.

Steps for Completing Lesson 1
Step Activity Access/Directions
1 Read "Chapter 10: Biofuels." Renewable Energies. Ed. Jean-Claude Sabonnadiere. Hoboken, NJ: ISTE Ltd/John Wiley & Sons, 2009. 1.5
2 Read "Introduction: An Overview of Biofuels and Production Technologies." Handbook of Biofuels Production: Processes and Technologies. Ed. Rafael Luque, Juan Campelo, and James Clark. Oxford: Woodhead Pub., 2011. 1.5
3 Homework #1 1.5
4 Discussion #1 1.5


If you have any questions, please send them to All Course Instructors through ANGEL e-mail. I will check daily to respond. If your question is one that is relevant to the entire class, I may respond to the entire class rather than individually.