The University of Southampton
Courses

CENV6141 Bioenergy

Module Overview

The bioenergy industry is undergoing rapid growth due to the policy drivers underpinning the current interest in bioenergy, such as energy security and climate change. This module provides an overview of key topics on sustainable bioenergy production, including the main biomass systems for bioenergy generation and the wide range of bioenergy conversion and utilisation methods. This module adopts a whole systems approach and enables students to critically appraise the sustainability of various biomass energy production routes. The module teaching and learning will comprise lectures and two site visits. The coursework requires students to develop a farm-based bioenergy production system.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• To enable students to analyse the main biomass systems that can be used for biomass energy conversion and utilisation. • To enable students to develop designs for biomass energy conversion and utilisation within the context of a whole systems approach. • To enable students to critically evaluate the environmental benefits and consequences of biomass energy production.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Integration of the biological and engineering principles of resource use and productivity in a quantitative manner in order to assess the effectiveness of agricultural and agroforestry biomass production systems
  • Location of relevant information sources on biomass energy and to critically assess the quality of the data and the information source
  • Production of clear and concise analyses of benefits and problems relating to the production and use of different forms of biomass energy
  • Assess the framework within which biomass is considered as a renewable energy source, including the socioeconomic, political, historical, and environmental contexts that are relevant
  • Carry out a quantitative outline process and systems design which illustrates the approach that needs to be adopted when considering biomass as a renewable energy source
  • Have a broad knowledge of the main sources of biomass, the origins of these sources, and the means by which they can be exploited for electricity generation
  • Have a detailed quantitative understanding of the energy-generating potential of biomass as an energy source used in different ways and be able to perform analyses of the energy conversion potential from these within the context of a full life cycle approach
  • In the context of the design choices, make the appropriate assumptions, utilise the right tools and analyses and select systems that work for the community, the environment and the client
  • Understand the design basis of biomass-driven power generation and biofuel production and be able to narrow the focus of design choices in a particular context
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Analyse, synthesise and summarise information critically, including prior research
  • Collate and integrate lines of evidence from different disciplines to develop and consolidate knowledge and understanding on an objective basis
  • Propose reasoned arguments, justifying conclusions and recommendations by reference to appropriate analytical frameworks and supporting evidence
  • Use facts and data to support arguments, and assemble and critically evaluate relevant information from several sources and develop a personal point of view
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Problem analysis and problem solving
  • Information handling
  • Critical Analysis
  • Report writing
  • Exercise independent judgement
  • Presentation
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • ving successfully completed this module, you will be able to:
  • Demonstrate the ability to present and defend research
  • Compare different bioenergy technologies from various perspectives
  • Assemble a technical report
Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • After completing this module, the students should be able to: • Summarise the main sources of biomass, and the framework within which biomass is considered as a renewable energy source • Calculate the energy generating potential of biomass as an energy source used in different system design choices • Distinguish between the different biomass conversion processes in terms of operating conditions, useful products and by-products. • Investigate the energy conversion efficiency quantitatively using a full life cycle approach in any particular context • Evaluate clearly and concisely the benefits and problems relating to the production and use of different forms of biomass energy • Select and design systems that work for the community, the environment and the client by making the appropriate assumptions and utilising the right tools and analyses • Critically assess the quality of the data and the information source

Syllabus

1. BIOENERGY CONTEXT The need for bioenergy. Problem and debate on first generation bioenergy production. Bioenergy framework and roadmap. 2. ENERGY BALANCE AND LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT ON BIOENERGY PRODUCTION SYSTEM Energy balance analysis. Life cycle assessment. 3. BIOMASS AS FEEDSTOCK FOR BIOENERGY PRODUCTION Biomass for first generation bioenergy production - Sugar crops - Grains - Oilseeds These will be considered in terms of their potential for production; land use; competition with food and other industrial crops; energy inputs in production; and transport logistics. Biomass for second generation bioenergy production - Dedicated planation. - Forestry and agricultural residue.s - Secondary biomass feedstocks (agricultural, industrial, commercial, and municipal organic wastes). These will be considered in terms of their production, composition, purity, conversion potential and environmental impacts. Biomass for third generation bioenergy production - Micro and macro algae. These will be considered in terms of development of new biomass feedstocks and technical constrains. Energy content in biomass, and approximate and ultimate analysis of biomass. Biomass logistics Harvesting or collection. Densification. Transport. Storage. 4. (BIO)CHEMICAL CONVERSIONS FOR BIOFUEL AND BIOENERGY PRODUCTION These include: -Trans-esterification for biodiesel production. -Fermentation for bioethanol and biobutanol production. -Anaerobic digestion for biogas/biomethane production. -A range of biohydrogen production routes. -Bioelectrochemical systems (e.g. microbial fuel cell) for bioenergy and chemical production. -Biorefinery. The above technologies will be discussed with regard to: - Application of biofuel/bioenergy, market prominence, and adaptation of the current fuel infrastructure. - Biomass choice and supply. - Principle of conversion process. - Unit process, operation consideration, and conversion efficiency. - Co-products, their usage and disposal routes. - State-of-the-art of the application of technology around the world. - Case studies on energy balance and life cycle assessment. - Case studies on techno-economic analysis and incentives. 5. THERMOCHEMICAL CONVERSIONS FOR BIOFUEL AND BIOENERGY PRODUCTION These include: - Torrefaction. - Slow and fast pyrolysis. - Gasification. - Combustion. - Co-firing. The above technologies will be discussed with regard to: - Biomass choice and supply. - Principles of processes. - Reactor types and operation consideration. - Utilisation of bio-char, bio-oil, and synthesis gas produced from the thermochemical process. - State-of-the-art of the application of technologies. 6. BIOENERGY USE - Electricity. - Heat. - Motion (transport fuel).

Special Features

Wherever possible students with special needs will be accommodated, but the visit is restricted by the risk assessment requirements of the site being visited.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching activities: Lectures and tutorials Learning activities: Visit to a farm-based anaerobic digestion (AD) plant and an energy from waste combustion plant. Mini conference event with individual presentations and posters. Private study, module materials are available on Blackboard.

TypeHours
Wider reading or practice36
Tutorial9
Lecture33
Practical classes and workshops2
Revision24
Fieldwork6
Completion of assessment task40
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Blackboard. See Blackboard for up to date module reading and resources.

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 34%
Coursework 6%
Examination 60%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Examination 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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