CHEM ENG 4048 - Biofuels, Biomass and Wastes

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2022

This course will establish the fundamental understanding on the characteristics of biomass resources, and the design and operations of the biomass energy systems. Key topics covered include the basics in production, availability and sustainability of biomass resources; characteristics of biomass as a fuel; design aspects on the pre-treatment, thermochemical conversion and biochemical conversion processes of biomass. In particular, the environmental aspects of biomass energy, economics and life-cycle analysis with case studies on biomass energy production will be emphasised.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code CHEM ENG 4048
    Course Biofuels, Biomass and Wastes
    Coordinating Unit School of Chemical Eng and Advanced Materials(Ina)
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 4 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assessment Assignments, project and final examination
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Philip Kwong

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

    1 Describe the nature and principle of different biomass energy extraction systems and know how to choose the suitable biomass fuels for different bio-energy applications;
    2 Distinguish the desirable features of these biomass energy sources and their advantages over traditional fuels such as coal and oil; and
    3 Identify their limited scope in terms of suitable sites, dependence on the elements, capital costs, and cost effectiveness compared with traditional sources.

    The above course learning outcomes are aligned with the Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competency Standard for the Professional Engineer.
    The course is designed to develop the following Elements of Competency: 1.1   1.2   1.3   1.4   1.5   1.6   2.1   2.2   2.3   3.2   3.3   

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.


    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.

  • Learning Resources
    Recommended Resources
    Journal Articles

    Demirbas, A., 2009, Biofuels securing the planet’s future energy needs, Energy Conversion and Management 50, 2239-2249.

    Demirbas, A., 2001, Biomass resource facilities and biomass conversion processing for fuels and chemicals, Energy Conversion and Management 42, 1357-1378.

    Sami, M., Annamalai, K., Wooldridge, M., 2001, Co-firing of coal and biomass fuel blends, Progress in Energy and Combustion Science 27,171-214.

    Demirbas, A., 2004, Combustion characteristics of different biomass fuels, Progress of Energy and Combustion Science 30, 219–230.

    Nussbaumer, T., 2003, Combustion and co-combustion of biomass: Fundamentals, technologies, and primary measures for emission reduction, Energy and fuels 17, 1510- 1512.

    de Nevers, N., Air pollution control engineering (2nd edition), McGraw- Hill.

    Meier D. and Faix, O., 1999, State of the art of applied fast pyrolysis of lignocellulosic materials- a review, Bioresource Technology, 68, 71-77.

    Ni, M., Leung, D.Y.C., Leung, M.K.H. and Sumathy, K., 2006, An overview of hydrogen production from biomass, Fuel Processing Technology 87, 461-472.

    Kirubakaran, V., Sivaramakrishnan, R., Nalini, R., Sekar, T., Premalatha, M. and Subramanian, P., 2009, A review on gasification of biomass, Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews 13, 179-186.

    Chynoweth D.P., Owens, J.M., and Legrand, R., 2001, Renewable methane from anaerobic digestion of biomass, Renewable Energy 22, 1-8.

    Gunaseelan, V. N., 1997, Anaerobic digestion of biomass for methane production: A review, Biomass and Bioenergy 13, 83-114.

    Cheng, H. and Hu, Y., 2010, Municipal solid waste (MSW) as a renewable source of energy: Current and future practices in China, Bioresource Technology 101, 3816-3824.

    Pavlas, M., Touš, M., Bébar, L. and Stehlík, P., 2009, Waste to energy-  An evaluation of the environmental impact, Applied Thermal Engineering, doi:10.1016/j.applthermaleng.2009.10.019

    Demirbas, A., 2009, Political, economic and environmental impacts of biofuels: A review, Applied Energy 86, S108-S117.

    Online Learning
    A range of online resources will be provided via MyUni.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The course will be delivered as a series of lectures and tutorials. Lectures are designed to deliver new materials and tutorials are designed for discussion of project and current issues to help you to achieve the intended learning outcomes. 


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Activity Contact Hours Workload Hours
    Lectures 20 48
    Tutorials 11 18
    Project 5 31
    Examination 0 8
    TOTAL 36 105
    Learning Activities Summary
    Topic 1: Introduction – Current situation and overview on different energy sources

    Topic 2: Overview of biomass energy

    Topic 3: Combustion of biomass

    Topic 4: Thermochemical conversions of biomass

    Topic 5: Energy from waste

    Topic 6: Issues and Opportunities with biomass energy
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Weighting (%) Individual/ Group Formative/ Summative
    Due (week)*
    Hurdle criteria Learning outcomes
    Term Project 25 Group Formative 12 1. 2. 3.
    Tutorial discussion 5 Individual week 1 to
    week 12
    1. 2. 3.
    Assignments 20 Individual Formative 3, 9 1. 2. 3.
    Final examination 50 Individual Summative 12 1. 2. 3.
    Total 100
    * The specific due date for each assessment task will be available on MyUni.
    This assessment breakdown complies with the University's Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy.
    Assessment Detail

    No information currently available.


    No information currently available.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

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