EGEE 439
Alternative Fuels from Biomass Sources

Lesson 4: 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 4 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 assignment below can be found within this lesson.

Steps for Completing Lesson 4
Step Activity Access/Directions
1 Homework #4 4.4
2 Discussion #4 4.4


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.