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ENGR 660 Fundamentals of Biofuels

An interdisciplinary approach to the exploration of the fundamentals and application of biofuels in today's energy and environmental challenges.

About the Course

We are currently facing both energy and environmental challenges. In this course, we will explore how biofuels offer potential solutions to these issues. Biofuels is an interdisciplinary topic, so we will investigate the science and engineering, economics, societal impacts and the political aspects of biofuels including both ethanol and biodiesel.

The course will provide a broad understanding of the impacts and implications of biofuels use through an investigation of:

  • The engineering and science of fuel production and use
  • The economics of biofuels production and use
  • The environmental impacts of both ethanol and biodiesel
  • The policies and environmental issues driving the use of biofuels as well as the societal impacts.

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, a student will:

  • Have an understanding of the role of bio-ethanol and biodiesel in transportation fuels.
  • Have an understanding of the production processes of bio-ethanol and biodiesel
  • Have a basic understanding of the fuel specifications and chemical properties of biofuels
  • Have a knowledge base of the variety of feedstocks used to produce biofuels
  • Understand the importance of biofuels policies and regulations
  • Understand the importance of life cycle assessments o f biofuels and be able to describe the well-to-wheels system boundaries.
  • Have an understanding of the sustainability issues and controversy of biofuels use, including the carbon and green house gas accounting


Curtis Robbins,

Curtis Robbins is a Mechanical Engineer at ADM Associates, Inc. which specializes in energy engineering consulting. He evaluates energy efficiency and renewable energy programs for utilities and other clients across North America. His main focus is on the assessment of energy impacts for Commercial and Industrial businesses. Prior to joining ADM Associates, Curtis researched and developed renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency measures at the Desert Research Institute.

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