Course outline

The course is organized in five different blocks. The first block is a general introduction on how biomass fits into the energy space. We will discuss policy, regulation, economics, and the impact on the environment. The following blocks discuss the research and technology that is carried out in Berkeley. We start with feedstock selection and show how this feedstock needs to be treated. The following blocks discuss the challenges how to convert this feedstock into a fuel or other useful products. The last block focusses on some technological questions. 

We refer to the schedule for details when each lecture is given

Energy, policy, economic, environment

If we are going to use biomass for energy on a large scale it will have a large impact. This impact is discussed in these lectures


Feedstock selection

Traditionally crops are grown for food production. Biomass for energy has very different requirements.


Feedstock conversion

Once we have a feedstock this needs to be converted into a fuel. Here it is not clear yet what the optimal treatment is. One can use chemical or biological routes

  • Mechanical pretreatment
  • Enzymatic saccharification
  • Chemical treatment


Metabolic engineering

Metabolic engineering is a powerful tool that can be used for various aspect of biomass conversion

  • Introduction
  • Fuel synthesis
  • Organism selection/gene discovery
  • Sugar utilization
  • Fermentation


Technology, life cycle, and scale up

Most research is done on the laboratory scale, making the step towards a scale that can impact the world is essential