Biomass Energy Basics: A Renewable Energy Certificate Course

Please note: Course is offered at the beginning of every month. You may sign up for it at any time, and your course will begin the first day of the upcoming month.
Who Should Attend
This online course is ideal for individuals who want to learn about renewable energy, current trends, technologies and applications.

By the end of the course, participants should be able to:

  • Define key aspects of the growing biopower and biofuel industry, including different locations and scales of production.
  • Describe the current use of biomass-generated energy.
  • Identify and list past and current incentives for using and producing biomass energy.
  • Recognize companies developing and investing in biomass energy, as well as estimate the business benefits of such investments.
  • Identify the scientific fundamentals of the exploration, development, and distribution of biopower and biofuel.
  • Describe the scientific, technological, and business components of energy from biomass sources, e.g., the six types of biopower systems (direct-fired, cofiring, gasification, anaerobic digestion, pyrolysis, and small, modular) and sources of biofuel, e.g. ethanol, biodiesel, and methanol.
  • Cite current applications of biopower and biofuels in the energy industry.
  • Discuss and analyze case studies involving the integration of biopower/biofuel and non-renewable sources of fuel and energy.
  • Devise methods for the integration of biopower/biofuel and non-renewables in order to anticipate future changes in the energy market.
Course Content

Biomass Energy Basics is an online course that enables participants to review, analyze, and evaluate opportunities in the rapidly expanding market for biopower and biofuel. In addition to gaining a working knowledge of the scientific, technological, and business aspects of biomass energy/fuel, participants will also learn techniques for integration with existing non-renewable resources, including using bioenergy and fuel to heat and/or power commercial structures, private homes, and public buildings. You will have a chance to plan a biomass operation for your final project.

With direct contact with your professor, who will answer questions and review your work via e-mail, you will have a chance to learn about renewable energy in a personalized setting. You may also have an opportunity to interact with other professionals in the field who will be available for your questions. A discussion board will be available for interaction with peers.

This course is part of a 5-course series: Certificate in Renewable Energy. The goal of the series of courses, and the Renewable Energy program is to equip earth scientists with knowledge to enable them to take the lead in integrated energy projects and programs. An earth scientist’s unique training and understanding of the big picture — the global picture — provides unmatched abilities to design, oversee, and promote integrated energy solutions which require bringing together fossil energy, geothermal, solar, wind, biomass, and others.

  • Unit 1 (Week 1): Scientific and Technology
  • Unit 2 (Week 2): Exploration and Development
  • Unit 3 (Week 3): Investment Models and Benefits
  • Unit 4 (Week 4): Integration Techniques
Course Structure

This course is offered at the beginning of every month. You may sign up for it at any time, and your course will begin the first day of the upcoming month. This course is designed to be equivalent to a 3 credit-hour graduate-level seminar. It is a 4-week online course which consists of 4 one-week units that involve readings, multimedia, guiding questions, and assignments for you to do and to email to your instructor. You will receive feedback from your instructor, and upon successful completion of the course, you will receive a certificate. As part of our five-course Certificate in Renewable Energy program, if you complete this course as well as the others, you will receive 5 course certificates and a program certificate.

Required Work: For each unit, one research project and a short paper that builds on results of the research project, for a total of four brief research projects and four papers.

Core Text Suggestions
  • Clark, James H. and Fabian Deswarte, eds. Introduction to Chemicals from Biomass. Indianapolis, Indiana: Wiley Publishing, 2008.
  • Drapcho, Caye, John Nghiem, and Terry Walker. Biofuels Engineering Process Technology. New York: McGraw Hill Professional Publishing, 2008.
  • Mousedale, David M. Biofuels: Biotechnology, Chemistry, and Sustainable Development. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2008.

Expires on
01 January, 9999
Member Tuition
Expires on
01 January, 9999
Nonmember Tuition


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Susan Nash, Ph.D. Director of Innovation and Emerging Science / Technology +1 918 560 2604
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