Available in 2021
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


This course provides students with an in-depth knowledge of biomass technology options for production of renewable energy (heat and electric power), fuels and chemicals that are suitable as substitutes for fossil fuels and their refined products. Students will gain insight into biomass properties and resource characteristics, utilisation concepts, treatment and conversion technologies as well as environmental consequences of bioenergy. The emphasis is on thermochemical approaches although biological methods (e.g. microbial conversion) are also covered in the course.

Availability2021 Course Timetables


  • Semester 2 - 2021

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Determine the important properties of biomass

2. Perform basic engineering calculations (mass and heat balances) for biomass-based energy systems

3. Identify and design suitable systems and technologies for biomass utilisation

4. Analyse bioenergy systems and their potential in future energy supply

5. Produce solutions to real-world problems related to bioenergy

6. Plan sub-processes and unit operations required in biomass utilisation facilities

7. Work with a team to apply knowledge of bioenergy to develop and conduct a project


  • What is Biomass?
  • Biomass Energy Resources
  • Overview of Biomass Conversion Technologies for Bioenergy, Biofuels and Biochemical Applications
  • Physical Conversion Methods for Preparing Biomass Feedstocks
  • Thermal Conversion 1: Combustion
  • Thermal Conversion 2: Pyrolysis
  • Thermal Conversion 3: Gasification
  • Thermal Conversion 4: Liquefaction
  • Chemical / Biochemical Conversion
  • Biological Conversion: Microbial Gasification
  • Integrated Biomass Production: A Holistic Approach to Conversion Systems with Net Energy Production

Assumed knowledge

First year of engineering calculus, physics, chemistry and general engineering courses or equivalent.

Assessment items

Written Assignment: Assignment 1

Written Assignment: Assignment 2

Written Assignment: Assignment 3

Project: Mini Project (Bioenergy)

Formal Examination: Final Exam

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks starting in week 1


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for 11 Weeks starting in week 2

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.