Biofuels from Biomass: Technology and Policy Considerations
This course is in development for 2013 or beyond. The below description should be taken as an example of content and is subject to change. If you are interested in this course, please
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To have a measurable impact on energy security, greenhouse gas emissions, and alleviate the food-fuel competition, biofuel production must use renewable cellulosic biomass as feedstock. This biofuels course will examine state of the art technologies aiming at cost effective biomass conversion along with economics, environmental impact, and policy issues. Both biological and thermochemical methods for the conversion of biomass to biofuels are considered. The course will be of value to individual engineers and scientists interested in the technologies of the developing field of biofuels, as well as managers and policymakers.
Fundamentals: Core concepts, understandings and tools (35%)
Latest Developments: Recent advances and future trends (35%)
Industry Applications: Linking theory and real-world (30%)
Lecture: Delivery of material in a lecture format (100%)
Introductory: Appropriate for a general audience (65%)
Specialized: Assumes experience in practice area or field (25%)
Advanced: In-depth explorations at the graduate level (10%)
- Recognize the processes for converting feedstocks to biofuels by biochemical methods.
- Evaluate ways for converting feedstocks to biofuels by thermochemical methods.
- Understand how biofuels other than ethanol can be produced.
- Review economic and business dimensions of biofuels production from biomass.
- Plant Science
- Enzymology, Enzymatic Hydrolysis, and Fermentation Processes
- Metabolic Engineering: science and applications
- Complete Bioprocess Engineering of biomass-to-biofuels conversion
- Life Cycle Analysis
- Thermochemical Processes for biomass conversion
- Economic and environmental impact of biofuels from biomass
- Possibilities and challenges of current biofuels technologies
- Potential and issues of alternative biofuels production technologies
- Policy and incentive considerations
- Biofuels alternatives and their potential
- World perspective for biofuel
Who Should Attend
This course is designed for industrial personnel and research managers. In addition, academics contemplating the introduction of courses on biomass processing will benefit from its content. The course also addresses issues of processes and new technology that could be of interest to individuals involved in the protection of intellectual property. Specifically the following groups will find the course of value:
- Engineers, chemists, and biologists interested in biofuels and bioenergy from biomass.
- Bioprocess engineers and scientists of current chemical and biotechnological companies, as well as startup ventures, engaged in the development of chemical and biochemical processes for biomass conversion.
- Managers responsible for integrating biomass feedstock supply with biomass deconstruction processes, fermentation, and downstream biofuels processing.
- Legal personnel and policymakers with interest in the development and protection of intellectual property and broader policy issues regarding pricing, market development, and international commerce of biofuels.
- Drivers for the introduction of alternative fuels
- Security, cost and environmental considerations
- CO2, carbon sequestration and the impact of biofuels
- Review of current processes for biofuel production from biomass
- Economic Models: Costing of current and future processes for biofuel production from biomass
- Biomass Availability
- Models of biomass concentration and utilization
- Plant Sciences: Improving biomass yield & properties for easier processing and conversion
- Pretreatment of Biomass
- Enzymatic Hydrolysis:
- Processes & alternatives
- Engineering new enzymes
- Fermentation – Processes and alternatives
- E. Coli
- Metabolic Engineering
- Complete Bioprocess Engineering and Life Cycle Analysis
- Biomass Gasification & Liquefaction
- Fischer-Tropsch Catalysis
- Aqueous Processing of Sugars
- Bio-Diesel and other alternative liquid fuels
- Policy and Politics of biofuels
- Biofuels around the world: Brazil, India and China
For background information on the course topic, please view the following article written by Professor Bruce E. Dale: Biofuels: Thinking Clearly about the Issues.
Vice President for Crop Development, Edenspace Systems Corporation
"Lectures were up to the minute, presented by leaders in the field. My fellow students were also very knowledgeable and quite diverse. We learned a lot from one another. An exciting, high powered environment."
Senior Engineering Associate, ExxonMobil Research and Engineering
"Good blend of theory/practice; professors very knowledgeable about subject matter."
Fuels Research Biochemist, United States Air Force
"The lecturers were very knowledgeable in their respective fields and the group discussions were thought provoking. The topic selections were excellent."
About The Lecturers
Dr. Gregory Stephanopoulos received his degrees in Chemical Engineering (B.S.: NTU Athens, M.S.: University of Florida, Ph.D.: University of Minnesota, 1978). He taught at Caltech from 1978 to 1985, after which he was appointed Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT. He served as Associate Director of the Biotechnology Process Engineering Center (1990-97) and is currently the Taplin Professor of HST (2001-present), Instructor of Bioengineering at Harvard Medical School (1997-present), and the W. H. Dow Professor of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at MIT.
Professor Stephanopoulos' current research focuses on metabolic engineering, the engineering of microbes for the production of fuels and chemicals. He has co-authored or edited five books, ~290 papers, and twenty-five patents, and supervised fifty graduate and forty post-doctoral students. He is presently the editor-in-chief of Metabolic Engineering and serves on the Editorial Boards of seven scientific journals and the Advisory Boards of five Chemical Engineering departments. He has been recognized with numerous awards including, the Dreyfus Award, Excellence in Teaching Award from Caltech, AIChE Technical Achievement Award, PYI Award, AIChE-FPBE Division Award, M.J. Johnson Award of ACS, Merck Award in Metabolic Engineering, C. Thom Award of SIM, the R.H. Wilhelm Award in Chemical Reaction Engineering of AIChE, and the Founders Award of AIChE. In 2002 he was elected to the AIChE Board of Directors, in 2003 to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and 2005 he was awarded an honorary doctorate degree (doctor technices honoris causa) by the Technical University of Denmark.
Professor Stephanopoulos has taught undergraduate and graduate courses of the core of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at Caltech and MIT and co-authored the first textbook on Metabolic Engineering.
Professor Stephanopoulos discusses the future of biofuels in an MIT News article--click here to read the article.
Bruce E. Dale
Professor Dale is University Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering and former Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering at Michigan State University. He also serves as Editor in Chief of the new journal, Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefineries. In 1996 he won the Charles D. Scott Award for contributions to the use of biotechnology to produce fuels, chemicals and other industrial products from renewable plant resources. In 2007 he won the Sterling Hendricks award for contributions to the chemical science of agriculture. He is interested in the environmentally sustainable conversion of plant matter to industrial products - fuels, chemicals and materials - while still meeting human and animal needs for food and feed. He occupies a leadership role in the recently established Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC), funded by the U.S. Department of Energy at the level of $135 million over 5 years to develop cellulosic ethanol and other bioenergy sources. Dr. Dale has published over 100 archival journal articles and holds 16 patents.
Rick joined the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in 1991 as a process engineer and is currently the Team Leader for Biomass Pretreatment Research and Development in the Biotechnology Division for Fuels and Chemicals. He has expertise in biomass conversion processes, including biomass pretreatment and thermochemical hydrolysis, enzymatic hydrolysis and fermentation, equipment design, pilot-scale engineering and operations, and process economic analysis. He has also been involved in several industrial collaboration projects, including New Energy Company of Indiana, which was the recipient of a prestigious R&D 100 Award in 1993. Rick will be the NREL technical leader of a recently-awarded $38MM, 4 year collaborative project involving DuPont, Diversa Corporation, John Deere, Michigan State University, and NREL to develop an integrated corn-based biorefinery.
Prior to joining NREL, Rick was a process development engineer at Genencor International Inc. At Genencor, Rick worked on processes for the production and recovery of several industrial enzymes, including cellulase. Rick holds a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and a M.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from Colorado.
Mr. Hettenhaus is a recognized expert in many areas of biorefining operations including feedstock supply and downstream biomass and chemical processing. He has many years of experience leading large operations and the start-up of three companies. Mr. Hettenhaus co-founded cea Inc. in 1993, a consulting firm that specializes in commercializing biotechnology (www.ceassist.com). Since 1995, Mr. Hettenhaus has successfully led projects for national laboratories and private clients, including assessing cellulase enzyme improvements; evaluating the next generation needs for biological organisms used to produce sugars from biomass; defining innovative methods for sustainable harvesting, transporting and storing cellulosic biomass feedstock; as well as evaluating biorefinery siting and the "sugar platform" possibilities for production of chemicals, fuels and materials from cellulosic biomass. Recently PureVision announced the addition of Mr. James R. Hettenhaus to its Board of Directors.
George W. Huber
George W. Huber is the John and Elizabeth Armstrong Professional Development Professor of Chemical Engineering at University of Massachusetts-Amherst. His research focus is on Breaking the Chemical and Engineering Barriers to Lignocellulosic Biofuels. He has authored over 25 peer-reviewed publications including two papers in Science and three articles in Angewandte Chemie International Edition. Two different companies (Virent and Renewable Oil International) are commercializing biofuel technology that George has developed. He is currently working as a consultant on biofuels for Conoco-Phillips, BP, Khosla Ventures, and United Technologies. His discovery of Raney-NiSn catalyst for hydrogen production from biomass-derived oxygenates was named as one of top 50 technology breakthroughs of 2003 by Scientific American.
George is currently working with governmental and industrial institutions to help make cellulosic biofuels a reality. In June 2007, he chaired an NSF and DOE workshop entitled, "Breaking the Chemical and Engineering Barriers to Lignocellulosic Biofuels" (www.ecs.umass.edu/biofuels/). This workshop brought together leaders in academia, industry, national labs and governmental agencies to provide a unified national roadmap as to how to make lignocellulosic biofuels a practical reality. Prior to his appointment at UMass-Amherst, George did a post-doctoral stay with Avelino Corma at the Technical Chemical Institute at the Polytechnical University of Valencia, Spain (UPV-CSIC) where he studied bio-fuels production using petroleum refining technologies. He obtained his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from University of Wisconsin-Madison (2005) where he helped develop aqueous-phase catalytic processes for biofuels production under the guidance of James A. Dumesic. He obtained his B.S. (1999) and M.S. (2000) degrees from Brigham Young University, where he studied Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis under the direction of Calvin H. Bartholomew.
Ernest J. Moniz
Ernest J. Moniz is a Professor of Physics and the Cecil and Ida Green Distinguished Professor at MIT, where he has served on the faculty since 1973. Professor Moniz served as Under Secretary of the Department of Energy from October 1997 until January 2001. He also served from 1995 to 1997 as Associate Director for Science in the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President, where his responsibilities spanned the physical, life, and social and behavioral sciences, science education, and university-government partnerships. At MIT, Professor Moniz served as Head of the Department of Physics and as Director of the Bates Linear Accelerator Center. His principal research contributions have been in theoretical nuclear physics, particularly in advancing nuclear reaction theory at high energy.
Professor Moniz received a B.S. in physics from Boston College, a doctorate in theoretical physics from Stanford University, and honorary doctorates from the University of Athens and the University of Erlangen-Nurenburg. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Humboldt Foundation, and the American Physical Society and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Professor Moniz received the 1998 Seymour Cray HPCC Industry Recognition Award for vision and leadership in advancing scientific simulation.
Kristala Jones Prather
Kristala Jones Prather is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT and an investigator in the multi-institutional Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (SynBERC) funded by the National Science Foundation (USA). Professor Prather's research interests include: metabolic engineering, biochemical engineering, bioprocess engineering, and synthetic biology.
This course takes place on the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We can also offer this course for groups of employees at your location. Please contact the Short Programs office for further details.
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