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From Fossil Resources to Biomass: A Chemistry Perspective

Explore how to create a sustainable future by moving away from dependence on fossil resources to biomass resources for the production of food, chemicals and energy-carriers. Discover how to use microorganisms and catalysts to create biobased products.

From Fossil Resources to Biomass: A Chemistry Perspective

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Starts Oct 15
Starts Dec 7
Estimated 5 weeks
20–28 hours per week
Self-paced
Progress at your own speed
Free
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About this course

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The upcoming years are all about creating a sustainable future where it is necessary to move away from fossil resources and explore and implement the opportunities that biomass as a renewable energy source gives us.

Join this course if you want to learn how to create a sustainable future by moving away from dependence on fossil resources to biomass resources for the production of food, chemicals and energy-carriers. You will learn what biomass is, how to produce biomass renewable energy- and biomass fuel and how to make biobased products.

You will get a solid understanding of how chemistry works in a biobased economy and in the production of biomass renewable products. Your valuable knowledge will help your company drive into sustainability and actually make the transition to use biomass resources to produce biobased products.

You will learn about the products that can be derived from biomass and the processes used to do so.

We will explore catalytic conversion of biomass by discussing types of catalysts, special challenges for catalysis when converting biomass into biomass energy and the interplay of catalysis and up/down stream processes. Then we dive into biorefinery. Biorefinery deals with the challenge of extracting valuable biomass components and converting them to final products. To achieve this you first need knowledge of the different types of biomass, the molecules present and their chemical characteristics. Biorefinery is all about efficient processing. Aspects of processing include the harvesting, pre-treatments, conversion and separation technologies.

Stating the obvious; a biobased economy runs on biomass. To apply the gained knowledge to the production of crops, it is therefore important to understand which factors play a major role in crop growth, yield formation and quality. In this module you’ll learn to identify design criteria for the production of biobased crops on both crop- and farm level.

Join the MicroMasters programme

This MOOC is part of two MicroMasters Programs:
Economics and Policies for a Circular Bio-Economy and
Business and Operations for a Circular Bio-Economy.

The Business and Operations for a Circular Bio-Economy MicroMasters Program will provide you with the knowledge and tools to analyse the business and operations side of the switch to biobased products.

The MicroMasters Program Economics and Policies for a Circular Bio-Economy covers the economic and policy side of converting biological resources into biobased products. You will able to contribute substantially to managerial decision-making as well as policy development. Both programmes consist of 3 courses and a final project; the capstone.

Explore the other courses in the MicroMasters programmes:

At a glance

  • Institution: WageningenX
  • Subject: Energy & Earth Sciences
  • Level: Advanced
  • Prerequisites:

    To optimally learn in/from and complete the complete MicroMasters Program we expect you to have a bachelor degree in social sciences (preferably business-, or economics). However, there is no formal entry level requirement for this MOOC.

What you'll learn

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  • Understand the basic chemical and technological concepts underlying the biobased value chain
  • Understand the factors and methods that can influence production of biobased crops
  • Understand how the composition and chemical nature of biomass fractions determines the processing steps within a biorefinery
  • Understand the potential of microorganisms for the production of biobased products.
  • Explain how catalysis can contribute to a biobased economy

1: Introduction to Biobased Sciences

Learn about the products that can be derived from biomass and the processes used to do so, compared to current fossil based products and processes.

2: Biomass Production

A biobased economy runs on biomass. It is therefore important to understand which factors play a major role in crop growth, yield formation and quality. In this module you’ll learn to identify design criteria for the production of biobased crops on both a crop and farm level.

3: Biorefinery

Biorefinery deals with the challenge of extracting valuable biomass components and converting them to final products. To achieve this you first need knowledge of the different types of biomass, the molecules present and their chemical characteristics. Biorefinery is all about efficient processing.

Aspects of processing include the harvesting, pre-treatments, conversion and separation technologies.

4: Bioconversion

Learn how to convert molecules through microbial processes. Find out how to choose the right host organism and how choices in process design influence cell growth, substrate conversion and product formation.

5: Chemical Conversion

Explore catalytic conversion of biomass by discussing types of catalysts, special challenges for catalysis when converting biomass and the interplay of catalysis and up/down stream processes.

Learner testimonials

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''The course I undertook was excellent for helping me understand the processes and ideas connected with my surrounding area – I live in a place surrounded by farm land and knew little of how that worked. Also, by taking this course I was inspired to grow crops in my back garden (in bags and pots!).''

About the instructors

Frequently Asked Questions

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Do you have questions about the MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and/or related online programmes of Wageningen University & Research? To help you find answers to your questions, we created a list with frequently asked questions about enrolling, participating in- and finishing a MOOC.

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners residing in one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. edX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.

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