Biomass Treatment Technologies Online Course & Certificate

20 contact hours
Used For:
2 Continuing Education Units
Course and Certificate:

Lignocellulosic materials provide a raw material source for biofuel conversion and offer several advantages over fossil fuels- usage of a renewable resource, reduced greenhouse emissions, a decreased dependence on foreign oil, and stimulation of the agricultural sector. However, a primary technological challenge in converting lignocellulosic biomass into fuel is overcoming the recalcitrance of its matrix to enzymatic hydrolysis. To overcome these problems for chemical processing, naturally occurring cellulose biomass must be pretreated before it can be further processed using enzymatic hydrolysis or bioconversion.

The purpose of this course is to provide a comprehensive overview of biomass energy crops, conventional and emerging pretreatment technologies, their effectiveness, models for prediction, scale-up opportunities, economics, and outlook for the future.


After completing Biomass Treatment Technologies students will be equipped with a basic understanding of the following:

  • lignocellulosic biomass
  • energy potential
  • pretreatment technologies
  • conversion cost and scale up
  • outlook for the future


A general understanding of chemistry and/or biology is recommended

 Students will be assigned 5 homework assignments, and 1 final exam for each course. 

Module 1: Lignocellulose

  • Cellulose
  • Hemicellulose
  • Lignin

Module 2: Energy crops

  • Agricultural residues
  • Perennial grasses
  • Wood residues
  • Algae

Module 3: Pretreatment technologies

  • Mechanical technologies
  • Chemical technologies
  • Gaseous technologies
  • Biological technologies

Module 4: Heating mechanisms

  • Conduction heating
  • Convection heating
  • Microwave heating

Module 5: Measuring pretreatment effectiveness

  • Sugar yield
  • Fuel yield
  • Degradation and byproduct yield

Module 6: Models for prediction

  • Combined severity factor (CSF)
  • Reactor kinetics
  • Other

Module 7: Scale up

  • Batch processes
  • Continuous processes
  • Simultaneous Saccharification (SSF) processes

Module 8: Economics

Module 9: Outlook

Research Efforts

Commercial Outlook


 This course is Instructor-led and delivered through our award-winning online Learning Management System.