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Can renewable energy sources power the world?
Can renewable energy sources power the world?

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Week 4: Bioenergy

Introduction

This week you’ll look at bioenergy – the most ancient form of renewable energy, if we think of the wood fires used by our early ancestors. This form of ‘traditional biofuel’ is still widely used in many ‘developing’ countries. As you’ll see, bioenergy is now a much more modern energy source – but still essentially derived from the growth of plants.

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By the end of this week, you will be able to:

  • discuss at a basic level the main processes by which bioenergy in various forms can be extracted from biomass
  • Present an overview of the merits of different biomass sources and processes in specified contexts, and discuss the environmental and social issues involved
  • understand at an introductory level the potential contribution from a specified biomass source, and its cost, given relevant data.