EGEE 439
Alternative Fuels from Biomass Sources

Lesson 3: Use of Biomass in Thermal Technologies

Lesson 3: Use of Biomass in Thermal Technologies


In the last few lessons, we’ve learned about why current society is considering the use of biomass and the current methods of generating transportation fuels and electricity from fossil sources. With this lesson, we are moving into the use of biomass in various ways. This lesson focuses on thermal processes (both to generate electricity and liquid fuels), using biomass rather than coal, petroleum, or natural gas. Different fuels are produced from gasification and pyrolysis, so we will determine how each must be processed and utilized for fuel.

Lesson Objectives

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

  • explain how wood was used historically to produce heat and electricity;
  • evaluate the difference between combustion and gasification, and explain how design features differ depending on the process;
  • evaluate how pyrolysis is different from gasification;
  • describe the utilization of products from gasification versus pyrolysis, including how the processing of products differs.

Lesson 3 Road Map

This lesson will take us one week to complete. Please refer to the Course Syllabus for specific time frames and assignment due dates.


If there is anything in the lesson materials that you would like to comment on or don't quite understand, please post your thoughts and/or questions to our Throughout the Course Questions and Comments discussion forum. The discussion forum will be checked regularly. While you are there, feel free to post responses to your classmates if you are able to help. Regular office hours will be held to provide help for EGEE 439 students.