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Biomaterials and Bioenergy

The Elective Track “Biomaterials and Bioenergy” responds to the growing need for graduates and actors in the emerging bioeconomy.

The specialization focuses on the valorization of bioresources for the development of bio-based products, i.e. bioenergy, chemicals and biomaterials. Lignocellulosic biomass (eg.wood)  and other biopolymers (eg. bacterially produced bioplastics)  are a major focus of this specialization. Students will learn about the biology, chemistry, material science and processing technologies of natural materials into bio-based products within the context of biorefineries

Basic knowledge in chemistry is a prerequisite for this specialization.

 

Coordinator of the Elective Track

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Prof. PhD Marie P. Laborie

Chair of Forest Biomaterials

Phone: +49 761 203-97617

 

5 reasons for the Elective Track "Biomaterials and Bioenergy"

      *will follow soon*

Employement options

      * will follow soon*

Programme overview 

 

 

Detailled module descriptions

First semester (winter)

Introduction to Bioresources and their Chemistry 

Module coordination

Prof. Marie-Pierre Laborie

Additional lecturers

Dr. Heiko Winter, Prof. Stefan Pauliuk, PD Dr. Jürgen Kreuzwieser

Teaching and learning methods

Online lectures, self-study, personal assignments

Type of examination

Written exam (90 min) and written report

Prerequisites

Basic chemistry knowledge

Syllabus

Natural resources are increasingly considered as raw materials for the production of bio-based energy and materials. This module provides the general framework and background on the chemistry of such bio-based resources and provides a particular focus on lignocellulosic resources. The module is divided into 4 sections:
1) Introduction, 2) Chemistry, 3) Biomass and 4) Lignocellulose.

The Introduction section provides the general context for the utilization of natural resources for bioenergy and biomaterial purposes. To provide sufficient background for biomass chemistry and conversion into bio-products, the module then offers within the Chemistry section a basic review of organic and physical chemistry. In particular, the basic concepts of the periodic table, compounds, state of matter and thermodynamics are revisited. This allows identifying and characterizing the major families of building blocks created by nature including carbohydrates, aromatics, proteins and lipids in the subsequent Biomass section. These major families of natural compounds are considered there with an emphasis on their availability in nature, their biosynthesis, and their chemistry and structure. Within the Lignocellulose section an example of the assembly of the different structural building blocks, viz. cellulose, heteropolysaccharides and lignin, towards the formation of the plant cell wall is presented. With potential conversion and utilization pathways in mind, the composition of different lignocellulosic families is discussed. Finally, the module introduces the major methods for the qualitative and quantitative analysis of lignocellulose components.

Learning goals and qualifications

Students will be able to

  • present the framework (context, challenges and opportunities) around the use of renewable resources and the concept of sustainability
  • classify the large families of chemical compounds based on their biosynthetic pathway
  • describe the structural and chemical features of the major families of compounds produced in nature
  • describe and differentiate the composition of the main lignocellulosic families
  • discuss general challenges in analysis of lignocellulose composition
  • explain the principles of standard analytical methods commonly used for the characterization of lignocellulose
  • select appropriate analytical methods based on experimental constraints and needed information

 

Reading

  • Hill, C. A. S.; An introduction to sustainable resource use; Earthscan, London [u.a.]; 2011; ISBN 978-1-84407-927-8 Mc Murry, J. and R.C. Fay: Chemistry; 6th edition; Prentice Hall, 2011, ISBN 9780321741035
  • McMurry, J. E., Fay, R. C.; Chemistry; 6th edition; Prentice Hall; 2011; ISBN 9780321741035
  • Belgacem, M. N., Gandini, A., Hg.; Monomers, Polymers and Composites from Renewable Resources; Elsevier; 2008
  • Ek, M., Gellerstedt, G., Henriksson, G., (Eds.); Wood Chemistry and Wood Biotechnology; Volume 1 of Pulp and Paper Chemistry and Technology; Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, New York; 2009; ISBN 978-3-11-021340-9;
  • Additional literature will be given within the module.

Structure and Conversion of Lignocellulose 

Module coordination

Dr. Heiko Winter

Additional lecturers

Maximilian Göttelmann

Teaching and learning methods

Self-study with personal assignments, online lectures, peer-feedback, online live session

Type of examination

E-Portfolio (75%), oral presentation (25%)

Prerequisites

Previous modules of "Biomaterials and Bioenergy"

Syllabus

This module aims at understanding the structure, fractionation and conversion of lignocellulose. The module is divided into 2 sections: 1) Lignocellulose Structure and Anatomy, 2) Lignocellulose fractionation and conversion.

In the first section wood structure will be explored from the molecular to the macroscopic scale. This includes surveying the anatomical features and elements of lignocellulosic plants at the macroscopic, microscopic and ultrastructural levels. By a combination of lectures and practical courses the students will learn the anatomy of various tissues and species (hardwoods, softwoods, annual plants, etc.) and develop an appreciation of natural diversity and specialization of cells and tissues in the plant kingdom.

The module will then explore in the second section the concept of biorefinery as well as specific elements of biorefineries based on the raw material lignocellulose. Within this context various processes for lignocellulose fractionation into cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin and lignocellulose conversion pathways into materials and chemicals will be discussed. The process chain starts with mechanical size reduction of lignocellulose, continues with approaches for pretreatment of lignocellulose and presents examples for biochemical and thermochemical conversion of lignocellulose into materials and chemicals. With a focus on chemical fractionation processes the production of chemical pulp from lignocellulose is covered, comprising chemical reactions of lignocellulose components during pulping and bleaching, pulping technology, chemical recovery and pulping by-products. Additionally, potential strategies are proposed how current pulp mills can be transformed into biorefineries.

The module includes an excursion to a company in the field of lignocellulose fractionation.

Learning goals and qualifications

Students will be able to

  • describe structure and function of lignocellulose cell types
  • differentiate anatomical and structural features of lignocellulosic plants
  • identify various wood species based on their macroscopic and anatomical features
  • discuss special wood tissues
  • analyze the appropriate application of the term “biorefinery”
  • analyze approaches for biorefinery implementation
  • analyze pathways for lignocellulose fractionation/conversion
  • compare chemical/structural changes during lignocellulose fractionation/conversion

 

Reading

  • J. Clark and F. Deswarte Eds., Introduction to Chemicals from Biomass, Wiley Ed., 2008, ISBN 978-0-470-05805-3
  • Fengel, D., Wegener, G.; Wood: Chemistry, ultrastructure, reactions; Walter de Gruyter; 1983; ISBN 978-3-11-083965-4
  • Sjöström, E.; Wood chemistry – Fundamentals and applications; 2nd edition; Academic Press; 1993; ISBN 9780126474817
  • Ek, M., Gellerstedt, G., Henriksson, G., Eds.; Wood Chemistry and Wood Biotechnology; Volume 1 of Pulp and Paper Chemistry and Technology; Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, New York; 2009; doi: 10.1515/9783110213409
  • Ek, M., Gellerstedt, G., Henriksson, G., Eds.; Pulping Chemistry and Technology; Volume 2 of Pulp and Paper Chemistry and Technology; Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, New York; 2009; doi: 10.1515/9783110213423

Physical + Mechanical Behavior of Wood 

 

Module coordination

Prof. Marie-Pierre Laborie

Additional lecturers

Dr. Heiko Winter

Teaching and learning methods

Online lectures, personal and group assignments, virtual lab and group lab report, online live sessions

Type of examination

Written report

Syllabus

Wood is a natural material of large industrial significance. Its unique structure, composition and design confer specific physical and mechanical properties, which largely impact processing and utilization both as a solid material and in derived bio-based composites. Within this context, this module aims at understanding the physical, viscoelastic and mechanical properties of wood in light of its structural features. It comprises 3 sections: 1) wood physics, 2) wood viscoelasticity and mechanics, and 3) laboratory methods for the characterization of solid wood properties.

In the first section, the physical behavior of wood will be considered by defining the main materials attributes and by delineating wood-water relationships. In addition, wood modification approaches aimed at the stabilization of wood will be presented.

The second section will present the basic principles for understanding the mechanical and viscoelastic behavior of wood. The different modes and approaches to evaluate the viscoelastic and mechanical performance of solid wood in static and dynamic conditions and other relevant performance criteria such as fracture toughness will be reviewed.

The last section will provide both theoretical background and hands-on experience to characterize the physical, mechanical and viscoelastic properties via a laboratory project. It will further propose a platform to delineate the relationships between the physical, viscoelastic and mechanical properties of wood.

Learning goals and qualifications

Students are able to

  • read and interpret psychometric charts
  • relate wood structure to its orthotropic and hygroscopic character
  • present and discuss wood-water relationships in light of the various states of water in wood
  • calculate and model water sorption isotherms in wood
  • compare the main mechanical properties of wood to those of other common building materials
  • illustrate and discuss the impact of wood orthotropy on its performance
  • list some of the inherent advantages and disadvantages of wood in its utilization for solid wood applications
  • propose possible approaches to improve wood dimensional stability and performance
  • define the standard mechanical properties of wood and explain the principle of the measurements methods.
  • acquire and analyze laboratory data for wood density, specific gravity, moisture content, and wood mechanical and viscoelastic properties.
  • illustrate the impact of water on the physical, viscoelastic and mechanical behavior of wood.

Reading

    • R., Ross, R. J., Star, N. M.; Wood Handbook – Wood as an Engineering Material; Forest Products Laboratory, Madison, WI; 2010; http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/products/publications/several_pubs.php?grouping_id=100&header_id=p
    • Wood: Influence of Moisture on Physical Properties, J. F. Siau, ISSBN No: 0-9622181-0-3
    • Skaar C. Wood-Water Relationship. Springer Verlag Press

 

Second semester (summer)

Bio-based Polymers 

Module coordination

Prof. Marie-Pierre Laborie

Additional lecturers

Dr. Heiko Winter

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, self-study, laboratory, excursion

Type of examination

Written exam (120 min) and presentation of laboratory results

Syllabus

Bio-based polymers are at least partly derived from renewable natural sources and comprise i) bio-based polymers directly derived from vegetal biomass, ii) classically synthesized from bio-based monomers and iii) produced directly by micro-organisms. Bio-based polymers provide an alternative to petroleum-based polymers and are also often designed for biodegradability or compostability. This module surveys in four sections, the production, structure and properties of a wide range of bio-based polymers of current industrial relevance.

In the first section the fundamental concepts of polymers are introduced. Polymer parameters, polymer types and concepts of biodegradability and compostability are presented. The chemistry and properties of industrially-relevant bio-based polymers derived from biomass are then discussed in a second section. This includes the first (bio)plastic materials ever produced and still of major industrial relevance viz. cellulose derivatives, but also polymers based on starch, plant oil, lignin / furans etc. The following section tackles bio-based polymers produced from bio-based monomers and microorganisms. This section encompasses a majority of polyesters such as polylactic acid (PLA) and polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHB). In contrast to bio-based polymers, examples of petroleum-derived polymers particularly designed for biodegradability or compostability are also introduced there.

In presenting these families of bio-based polymers, emphasis is placed on the chemistry of production, structure-property relationships and the resulting application. The module concludes with a bio-based polymer laboratory, where students characterize industrial samples of petroleum and bio-based adhesives and design the process for their utilization in natural fiber composites. Adhesives and composites will be characterized with common analytical methods in order to establish structure-property relationships. Excursions will further help appreciate the industrial interest, production processes and challenges associated with bio-based polymers.

Learning goals and qualifications

Students will be able to

  • define and highlight the difference between the concepts “bio-based”,” biodegradable” and ”compostable”
  • define the 5 polymer parameters and illustrate with concrete examples of polymers
  • describe the production pathway, chemistry and main properties of the major bio-based polymers of industrial relevance
  • appraise the major properties of bio-based polymers based on their structure
  • describe the principle of the main analytical tools available for R&D activities for the development and characterization of bio-based polymers
  • analyze with simple analytical techniques important structural features and thermal properties of polymers
  • formulate, manufacture, characterize and grade Natural Fiber Composites using bio-based thermosetting adhesives

Reading

  • Handbook of Engineering Biopolymers, Homopolymers, Blends and Composites, Ed. S. Fakirov and D. Bhattacharyya, Hanser, Munich, 2007, ISBN-978-1-56990-405-3
  • Handbook of Biodegradable Polymers, ed. Catia Bastioli, Rapra Technology, Shawbury, UK, 2005
  • The Chemistry of Bio-based Polymers, J K Fink, John Wiley & Sons, Verlag, Feb 2014
  • Natural Fibers, Biopolymers, and Biocomposites, Ed. A. Mohanty, M. Misra and L. Drzal, CRC Taylor and Francis, Boca Raton, FL, 2005, ISBN 0-8493-1741-X
  • Monomers, Polymers and Composites from Renewable Resources, Ed. M. N. Belgacem and A. Gandini, Amsterdam, 2008, Elsevier, ISBN 978-0-08-045316-3
  • Nanocomposites with Biodegradable Polymers, Synthesis, Properties and Future Perspectives, Ed. V. Mittal, Oxford University Press, New York, 2011, ISBN 978-0-19-958192-4
  • Biopolymers- New Materials for Sustainable Films and Coatings, Ed. D. Plackett, 2011, Noida, Wiley & sons, ISBN 9780470683415

Innovative Use of Lignocellulosics 

Module coordination

Prof. PhD. Marie-Pierre Laborie, Dr. Heiko Winter

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, self-study, group work, excursion

Type of examination

Group presentations / reports

Syllabus

This module aims at exploring special topics in the field of lignocellulose valorization into bio-based products. It expands knowledge on biomaterials acquired during the elective track “Biomaterials and Bioenergy”. In this module, the particular focus is placed on nanocellulose, a novel biomaterial. During the last decade, nanocellulose has become the subject of significant R&D efforts in academia and in industry. Nanocellulose is finding increasing potential in a wide range of applications, starting from simple nanocomposites to barrier films, nanopaper, sensors, foams, hydrogels, aerogels, biomedical materials, responsive composites etc. To enter this wide range of applications, the surface chemistry of nanocellulose often needs to be modified and its (self-) assembly and interface development tailor-designed in composite or multiphase materials. This module thus covers the entire spectrum of nanocellulose – from its production to its application. It is organized in the following three sections:
  • Definitions and Production: the first section of the module reviews the definition, nomenclature, structure and properties of nanocellulose as well as the extraction methods at both laboratory and industrial scales.
  • Processing and Assembly: in the second section, the common processing techniques viz. solution casting, melt compounding but also inkjet printing will be visited. These processing techniques entail an understanding of rheological properties. The underlying principle of nanocellulose assembly (and self-assembly) will be presented in this section alongside the common processing techniques.
  • Applications: the last section will provide an overview of the potential and current applications of nanocellulose. In particular, applications as mechanical reinforcement, nanopaper and functional materials.

To implement the knowledge learned, students will conduct a design project including the design, manufacture, processing and testing of a fully biobased multiphase materials with a view to building a morphing biomaterial.

Learning goals and qualifications

Students will be able to

  • present the potential and challenges of nanocellulose production on the industrial level
  • describe the structure and properties of nanocellulose and the lignocellulose-to-nanocellulose hierarchy
  • classify the different kinds of nanocellulose and describe their traditional production techniques
  • provide examples of applications and products where nanocellulose is involved
  • select appropriate nanocellulose attributes for specific applications
  • illustrate the main modification methods and discuss the associated challenges and advantages
  • synthesize a series of research articles, dealing with a specific utilization of lignocellulosic biomass into innovative bio-products

Reading

  • Dufresne, A.; Nanocellulose: From Nature to High Performance Tailored Materials; De Gruyter; 2012
  • Belgacem, M. N., Gandini, A., Hg.; Monomers, Polymers and Composites from Renewable Resources; Elsevier; 2008
  • K. Oksman, A. Mathew, A. Bismark, O. Rojas and M. Sain, Handbook of Green Materials, volumes 1 to 4, world scientific series in Materials and Energy, ISBN 978-981-4566-45-2
  • Additional literature will be given within the module.

Bioenergy 

Module coordination

Dr. Sebastian Paczkowski, Prof. Dr. Stefan Pauliuk

Teaching and learning methods

Lecture, group discussion

Type of examination

Written report and presentation

Syllabus

The module will introduce the most relevant energy conversion technologies related to municipal and industrial waste products, non-woody and woody biomass. In addition, aspects of production/abundance, harvesting, logistic, and storage of non-woody and woody biomass, as well as municipal and industrial waste will be addressed.

Chemical engineering aspects of conversion processes such as:

  • torrefaction, pyrolysis
  • gasification, BtL
  • combustion
  • biogas
  • biodiesel
  • bioethanol

are given in the frame of the module.

Advantages and disadvantages of these processes will be discussed in terms of biomass resources, production technology, product characteristics, and emissions.

A group work that comprises a management and technology concept for a selected place/technology will allow the students to apply their knowledge and to investigate their project’s feasibility

Learning goals and qualifications

Students will

  • learn fundamental concepts of conversion processes for municipal and industrial waste, non-woody and woody biomass.
  • get a basic understanding of related technologies, e.g. harvesting, transport and storage.
  • will be able to assess different technologies with respect to strengths and weaknesses.

  • learn to assess the potentials of waste / biomass production and logistics.
  • practice how to apply essential information in a management process and to present the results in written and oral form.

Reading

Specific literature will be recommended in the module.

learn to assess the potentials of waste / biomass production and logistics.