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Biomaterials and Bioenergy, 15 Credits

Swedish name: Biomaterial och Bioenergi

This syllabus is valid: 2019-03-11 and until further notice

Course code: 5BI201

Credit points: 15

Education level: Second cycle

Main Field of Study and progress level: Biology: Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements

Grading scale: TH teknisk betygsskala

Responsible department: Department of Plant Physiology

Established by: Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 2019-03-13


The course covers different types of biomaterials and bioenergy from a feedstock perspective. The course is divided into three parts: theory of biomaterials and bioenergy (module I), laboratory exercises (module II), and analysis and evaluation of biomaterials and bioenergy (module III).

Module I covers plant cell wall structure, separation of cell wall components and their possible uses as biomaterials and bioenergy. Forest feedstocks for both the biomaterial and bioenergy sector are introduced. Waste products from forestry, agriculture and water cleaning plants are also covered, as well as side streams from forest and agricultural industries. This part also covers theory of lipids and starch, as well as new emerging biomaterials such as nanocellulose and biocomposites. Module II consists of practicals for the analyses of the chemical and physical properties, energy content and bioprocessing properties of plant feedstocks. Module III covers analysis and assessment of renewable resources as biomaterials and bioenergy in the form of a poster presentation.

The course is completed with a written exam, laboratory reports and a poster presentation.

Expected learning outcomes

Upon completion of the course, students should be able to:
- demonstrate deep knowledge on the chemical components of the cell walls, and their contribution to the chemical and physical properties of plant feedstocks
- evaluate the potential of lignocellulosic feedstocks as a source of biomaterials and bioenergy
- master the central concepts within bioenergy and biomaterial science
- demonstrate capacity to analyse properties of plant feedstocks and their potential as a source of biomaterials and bioenergy
- appraise advantages, limitations, ethical and environmental aspects in relation to biomaterial and bioenergy production
- demonstrate oral and written skills in presenting and discussing his/her results from the analyses of the plant feedstocks in an analytical and critical manner

Required Knowledge

90 ECTS including 15 ECTS in chemistry and 60 ECTS in biology including 30 ECTS in plant biology, or corresponding knowledge obtained by other means.

Form of instruction

The course consists of lectures, laboratory practices and a poster presentation. The obligatory components of the course are the laboratory practices, a poster presentation and the written exam.

Examination modes

Module I will be examined in a written hall exam which will take place at the end of the course. The grades are U, G or VG (U, 3, 4, 5 for the students in the civil engineering programs). The laboratory exercises (module II) are examined on the basis of written lab reports with grades not pass (U) or pass (G,3). The poster presentation (module III) is examined on the basis of the quality of the poster and the oral presentation with the grades not pass (U) or pass (G,3). To pass the whole course, all three modules must have been passed. The final course grade is equivalent to the grade of the written hall exam.
Students who do not pass the regular examination can take a re-examination in accordance with the Umeå University Regulations for tests and examinations at the undergraduate and graduate level (FS 1.1.2-553-14). A student who has taken two examinations in a course, or part of a course, has the right to have another examiner appointed unless there are specific reasons against it (6 ch. 22, § HF). Requests for a new examiner should be addressed to the head of the Department of Plant Physiology. After receiving a grade "pass", a re-exam cannot be taken.
The grading system will be introduced and discussed in the first course lecture. During this lecture, national goals for an advanced level course are presented as well.

Deviations from the course syllabus examination form can be made for a student who has a decision on pedagogical support due to disability. Individual adaptation of the examination form should be considered based on the student's needs. The examination form is adapted within the framework of the expected syllabus of the course syllabus. At the request of the student, the course responsible teacher, in consultation with the examiner, must promptly decide on the adapted examination form. The decision must then be communicated to the student.

Other regulations

In the event that the course plan ceases to apply or undergoes major changes, students are guaranteed at least three exam opportunities (including regular examinations) according to the rules in the syllabus that the student was originally registered for, for a maximum of two years from the date of the syllabus change or termination of the course.

There is no textbook for this course. Relevant literature is provided during the course including links to further reading.

In the event that the syllabus ceases to apply or undergoes major changes, students are guaranteed at least three examinations (including the regular examination opportunity) according to the regulations in the syllabus that the student was originally registered on for a period of a maximum of two years from the time that the previous syllabus ceased to apply or that the course ended.


The literature list is not available through the web. Please contact the faculty.