University of Florida

AOM 4521
Introduction to Biofuels

Semester Taught - Summer A   

Catalog Description

Credits: 3

An overview of biofuel production related to technologies and feedstocks, economics of producing biofuels and impact on the environment and the local economy. Dealing specifically with liquid and gaseous biofuels and bioenergy produced from renewable resources, it provides a summary of the past, present, and future production technologies and applications.


Biology, Physics and Chemistry related coursework

Course Objectives

The objective of this course is to provide students with the basic principles of biofuels and bioenergy systems design.  Students in this course will identify biofuels and bioenergy sources; describe biofuels and bioenergy technologies, applications and efficiency; analyze biofuels and bioenergy manufacturing, distribution and integration issues; evaluate biogas and its sources and site location; design a biofuels and bioenergy process and its related components.

Students completing this course will be able to: 

  • Demonstrate knowledge of biofuels and bioenergy best practices
  • Have a critical view on problems related to biofuel efficiency
  • Evaluate biofuel and bioenergy equipment

Specifically students will be able to:

  • Recognize the various types of biofuels and bioenergy systems and components in use
  • Assist in the planning and installation of biofuels and bioenergy systems and components
  • Understand the market and economics of biofuels and bioenergy systems
  • Understand the types of process technologies and standards that apply to biofuel and bioenergy
  • Demonstrate safe working practices
  • Improve the quality of biofuels and bioenergy facilities


Dr. Pratap Pullammanappallil
Office Location: 203 Rogers Hall
Phone: 392-1864 x203

Material/Supply Fees


Class Materials Required

Title: Biorenewable Resources – Engineering New Products from Agriculture
Author: Robert C. Brown
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Professional, 2003
ISBN: 978-0-8138-2263-1

Other Recommended Reading:
Title: Biofuels
Author: Wim Soetaert and Erik Vandamme (Editors),
Publisher: Wiley
ISBN: 978-0-470-02674-8
Year: 2009

Title: Biomass for Renewable Energy, Fuels, and Chemicals
Author: Donald Klass
Publisher: Academic Press
ISBN: 978-0-12-410950-6
Year: 1998

Course Outline

  1. Energy perspective
    1. Current methods
    2. Biomass possibilities
  2. Fundamental concepts in understanding biofuel and bioenergy production
    1. Mass Balances
    2. Energy Balances
    3. Thermodynamics
    4. Organic compounds
    5. Chemistry of plant materials
  3. Production of biorenewable resources
    1. Herbaceous crops
    2. Woody crops
    3. Algae
  4. Conversion of biomass into heat and power
    1. Direct combustion
    2. Thermal gasification
    3. Anaerobic digestion
  5. Processing of biomass into chemicals and fuels
    1. Sugars
    2. Alcohols
    3. Biodiesel
    4. Thermochemical conversion
    5. Fischer Tropsch Fuels
  6. Environmental impact of the bioeconomy
    1. Land use
    2. Pollution
    3. Climate change
  7. Economics of biorenewable resources
    1. Feedstock costs
    2. Capital costs
    3. Operating costs


A C- will not be a qualifying grade for critical tracking courses.  In order to graduate, students must have an overall GPA and an upper-division GPA of 2.0 or better (C or better).  Note: a C- average is equivalent to a GPA of 1.67, and therefore, it does not satisfy this graduation requirement.  For more information on grades and grading policies, please visit:

Grading Scale
A 91-100%
A- 86-90%
B+ 81-85%
B 76-80%
B- 71-75%
C+ 66-70%
C 61-65%
C- 56-60%
D+ 51-55%-
D 46-50%
D- 40-45%
E <40%
Grading Criteria
Homework 50%
Exam 1 25%
Exam 2 25%

Make-up Exam Policy:  No make-up exams will be given except for valid medical reasons or unless prior arrangements have been made. Requirements  for class attendance and make-up exams, assignments  and other work are consistent  with university  policies that can be found at:

Academic Honesty

In 1995 the UF student body enacted an honor code and voluntarily committed itself to the highest standards of honesty and integrity. When students enroll at the university, they commit themselves to the standard drafted and enacted by students.

The Honor Pledge: We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to hold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honesty and integrity.

On all work submitted for credit by students at the university, the following pledge is either required or implied: "On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid in doing this assignment."

Students should report any condition that facilitates dishonesty to the instructor, department chair, college dean, Student Honor Council, or Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution in the Dean of Students Office.

(Source: 2012-2013 Undergraduate Catalog)

It is assumed all work will be completed independently unless the assignment is defined as a group project, in writing by the instructor.

This policy will be vigorously upheld at all times in this course.

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities

The Disability Resource Center coordinates the needed accommodations of students with disabilities. This includes registering disabilities, recommending academic accommodations within the classroom, accessing special adaptive computer equipment, providing interpretation services and mediating faculty-student disability related issues.

0001 Reid Hall, 352-392-8565,  

Software Use

All faculty, staff and student of the University are required and expected to obey the laws and legal agreements governing software use. Failure to do so can lead to monetary damages and/or criminal penalties for the individual violator. Because such violations are also against University policies and rules, disciplinary action will be taken as appropriate. We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to uphold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honesty and integrity.

Campus Helping Resources

Students experiencing crises or personal problems that interfere with their general well-being are encouraged to utilize the university’s counseling resources. The Counseling & Wellness Center provides confidential counseling services at no cost for currently enrolled students. Resources are available on campus for students having personal problems or lacking clear career or academic goals, which interfere with their academic performance.

  • University Counseling & Wellness Center, 3190 Radio Road, 352-392-1575,

    Counseling Services
    Groups and Workshops
    Outreach and Consultation
    Self-Help Library
    Training Programs
    Community Provider Database

  • Career Resource Center, First Floor JWRU, 392-1601,