Introductory College Sustainable Biofuels Course
Both globally and nationally, we are facing significant energy and corresponding environmental challenges. Can future bioenergy technologies provide solutions? In this course we will explore a wide range of issues associated with bioenergy. Topics will include:
- Past and current uses of bioenergy;
- Considerations that are driving interest in new bioenergy technologies;
- Research needed to make future technologies successful;
- Sustainability dimensions: economic, environmental, and societal.
By nature, the topic of bioenergy is interdisciplinary and requires collaboration for successful research. A strong focus will be on this interdisciplinary aspect. We will look at interrelationships from a systems perspective and come to understand the complexities that are involved and so typical for modern scientific and technological problems. The potential for future biofuels to mitigate global climate change will be highlighted.
We will also take advantage of the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC), which has a significant portion of its researchers based here at UW-Madison. GLBRC’s focus on the use of cellulosic plant material for the production of liquid transportation biofuels will serve as a primary case study. Interaction with GLBRC will also provide for in-depth dialogs with a wide range of researchers, and laboratory and field activities.
Dr. John M. Greenler
Office: 445 Henry Mall, Room 506D
Office: 445 Henry Mall, Room 506E
- FIG Program Web-site
- Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center Web-site
- Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative Web-site
- U.S. Department of Energy Biomass Program Web-Site
- Kanehisa, Minoru, Susumu Goto. KEGG: Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes. Institute for Chemical Research, Kyoto University. Nucleic Acids Research. Oxford University Press. Vol. 28, No. 1. 2000.
Topics: Introductions and a virtual tour of bioenergy from the global to the molecular
Topics: Biocore Prairie Visit
- Biocore Prairie Web-site
- Lakeshore Nature Preserve Web-site
- Encyclopedia of Earth: Ecosystem
- Ecosystem Services Fact Sheet, ESA
- Invertebrate samping data from GLBRC
Topics: Continue scale of biofuel research discussion. Biofuel production systems overview
Reading: Basic introduction to biofuel production systems, challenges
- Why is it so hard to make cellulosic ethanol?
- Video: Making cellulosic ethanol, NREL
- Bioenergy feedstock production, MSU
- KEGG on-line metabolism database
- Cell size and scale Web-site
- biofuel system diagrams
Topics: FIELD TRIP to the bioenergy research plots at the UW-Madison Arlington Field Station
- Tilman, David, Jason Hill, Clarence Lehman. Carbon-Negative Biofuels from Low-Input High-Diversity Grassland Biomass. Science Magazine. 8 December 2006 314: 1598-1600 [DOI: 10.1126/science.1133306].
- Tilman, David, et al. Beneficial Biofuels—The Food, Energy, and Environment Trilemma. Science Magazine 17 July 2009 325: 270-271 [DOI: 10.1126/science.1177970]
Topics: Review of data from Arlington trip, the carbon cycle
Topics: Set up soil respiration experiments, continue discuss of carbon cycling, systems thinking. Post your group's experiment idea on the news forum by Sunday night so we can prepare materials for you. If more than one group has the same idea that is ok.
Reading: Read the first 2 chapters of soil primer online, clicking on images as you go. Skim the other chapters so you see some of the organisms that are respiring in your samples. We will be setting up the C02 traps in class so be familiar with those instructions.
Topics: Feedback loops in systems and the impact of bioenergy use on key planetary systems
- Solutions to Environmental Threats: Experts tell Scientific American which actions will keep key processes in bounds. Science American. April 2010. 58-60.
- Climate change science and policy: What do we know? What should we do? September 6, 2010.
- Connecting Distant Dots: An abstract threatment of very real global processes reveals connections between the most disparate of forces, events, and systems. SEED Magazine. February 2009. 56-57.
- Rockstrom, Johan, et al. A safe operating space for humanity. Nature. September 2009. Vol 461. 472-475.
Topics: Soil respiration experiments, continued
- Hillel, Daniel, Cynthia Rosenzweig. Research Roundup: Soil and Carbon Climate Change. CSA News. June 2009. Vol 54. 4-11.
Topics:Jatropha as a biofuel source for developing Countries
- The little shrub that could - maybe. Nature. October 2007. Vol 449. 652-655.
- The Jatropha Stove Project (JSP) Web-site
- Lark, Tyler. Jatropha as a biofuel source for developing countries. Powerpoint Presentation. October 6th, 2010.
Topics: Global energy and bioenergy flows: mapping energy and biofuel use
Reading: For the UN IPCC chapter on "Energy Supply" (below) read: sections 4.1, the introduction to 4.2, and 22.214.171.124. Make sure you consider Figures 4.4 and 4.14.
- R.E.H. Sims, R.N. Schock, A. Adegbululgbe, J. Fenhann, I. Konstantinaviciute, W. Moomaw, H.B. Nimir, B. Schlamadinger, J. Torres-Martínez, C. Turner, Y. Uchiyama, S.J.V. Vuori, N. Wamukonya, X. Zhang, 2007: Energy supply. In Climate Change 2007: Mitigation. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [B. Metz, O.R. Davidson, P.R. Bosch, R. Dave, L.A. Meyer (eds)], Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.
- Global Energy Flows: PowerPoint
Topics: Midterm Exam
Topics: Life Cycle Assessment: Excel Modeling Activity
- What's New for Dinner
- Quantitative LCA - Background Information: Pages 2-9 of the Student Pages
- Quantitative LCA - Bring 'LCA Modeling Spreadsheet' in on memory stick
Topics: Biofuel production systems
- Dale, Bruce and George Huber, Grassoline at the Pump. Scientific American. July 2009. 52-59.
Topics: Cellulase lab and enzyme biochemistry
- Primer on Cell Wall structure/synthesis
- Biochemical Pathway Animation
- Why is it so difficult to make cellulosic ethanol? - Review
Topics: Plant cell wall structure, improving plants for biofuels biomass, introduction to bioprospecting activity
- Introduction to bioprospecting activity--read, but do not complete
- Primer on Cell Wall structure/synthesis
- Cell walls, cellulose synthesis and improved biomass
Topics: Cellulase lab, with bioprospecting material
Topics: Tours of GLBRC Microbial Synthetic Biology (MiSynBio) lab and the Cameron Currie lab (leaf-cutter ants and associated microbes)
Topics: Cellobiase activity in microbial extracts lab
- "Cameron Currie = The Ant Man" 4/15/10 Isthmus
- Testing microbe extracts for cellobiase activity: BioRad lab manual
Topics: Guest: Steve Slater, GLBRC Science Programs Manager, "Life-cycle analysis for assessing environmental impacts"
Topics: Biotechnology, Synthetic Biology and Biofuels
Topics: Synthetic Biology and Biofuels
Topics: Socio-political aspects of biofuels.
- Developing an Advanced Biofuels Industry: State Policy Options for Lean and Uncertain Times
- Federal Biofuels Policy
- Growing America’s Fuel An Innovation Approach to Achieving the President’s Biofuels Target
- WI legislative council special committee on domestic biofuels
- iGEM Website
- UW-Madison iGEM team website
Topics: No class.
- First self-replicating synthetic bacterial cell, read about Craig Venter from his perspective
- Article and skype video: Researchers are the first to "boot up" a bacterial cell with a synthetic genome. AAAS
Topic: LCA comparison of biodiesel verses corn (grain) ethanol biofuels. Guest: Julie Sinistore, PhD candidate in Biological Systems Engineering
Topics: Bioenergy, and water use and quality
- Environmental, economic, and energetic costs and benefits of biodiesel and ethanol biofuels, Hill et al, 2006, PNAS, 103:11206-11210
- Short video showing soybean press-note oil to solids ratio, click on connected videos too.
- Biodiesel myths and facts from National Biodiesel Board
- Undergraduate Research Symposium
Topics: Land use change related to biofuel cropping systems
- Land clearing and the biofuel carbon debt, Fargione et al, Feb 7, 2008, Science
Topics: Scale and distribution of abandoned agricultural lands
- Biomass energy: the scale of the potential resource, Field et al, 2007.
Topics: Student presentations
Topics: Student presentations