Master programme

Energy from biomass

Participating Studies: Sustainable Energy Technology (MSc-SET), Master Mechanical Engineering (MSc-ME), Master Industrial Design Engineering (MSc- IDE), Master Chemical Engineering (MSc-CE), and Master of Applied Physics (MSc-APH)

The course will give the students a basic understanding of the biomass conversion routes to useful products like power, heat, electricity or chemicals. It will give more detailed knowledge about the main thermochemical conversion processes, combustion, gasification and pyrolysis and the different types of equipment applied here. The students are able to design the whole biomass conversion route and to evaluate the process using performance indicators like, energy efficiency, fossil energy ratio (FER), fossil CO2 emission (CO2), land area required etc. Students learn the ability to determine the main dimensions of the conversion reactor, applying thermodynamics, heat and mass transfer and chemistry.

Course Description

The course will give an introduction on the global energy resources with the focus on the role of biomass in it. Because of the diversity of biomass the physical and chemical properties are considered. The basic principles of biomass conversion steps like: drying, storage, torrefaction, pyrolysis, gasification, and combustion will be discussed. Chemical, thermodynamical, heat and mass transfer aspects of the different conversion processes will be handled. The thermochemical processes of biomass conversion like combustion, gasification and pyrolysis will be discussed in more detail including the different types of equipment applied in these processes. Attention will be given to the co-production of valuable products (e.g. bio-chemicals) and fuels from biomass, so-called: biorefinery. Emissions of solid and gaseous components and the measures to reduce these emissions will be part of the course. During the work on the assignment  in this course students are working in small team, they will learn to make choices on the chain steps, discuss this in the group and develop a complete biomass conversion route. The students will determine the main dimensions of the conversion reactors and finally evaluate the developed technology in according to chain analysis of the route and discuss the role of the choices made during the assignment.

Starting knowledge
Thermodynamics and a technical background with an interest in biomass conversion technologies and an interest in sustainable and environmental issues.

Written report on the assignment of a biomass conversation process. Group presentation and discussion on the results of the designed biomass conversion process. Oral exam with the individual students.




Credits (ECTS)



ir. E.A. Bramer



ir. E.A. Bramer, G. Brem, prof dr. S.R.A. Kersten