NTU Special Topics in Microbiology

December 3-12, 2013

The Biochemistry and Ethics Behind Current Biofuels

Lecture, 6:30PM – 8:30PM

Dr. Tim Devarenne

Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics

Texas A&M University

email: tpd8@tamu.edu




Main Paper

Supplemental Papers

December 3



Biofuels, what is the hype all about?

Class Introduction

Biofuels Introduction

December 4

1. Climate change and greenhouse gasses, is there a connection?

IPCC Analysis

Climate Change Review

2. 1st generation biofuels: EtOH from sugar crops.

Grain ethanol produciton

Ethanol production from sugar sources

December 5

1. 1st generation biofuels: Biodiesel from oil crops.

Plant Triglycerides

The Transesterification Process

Paper #1

Paper #2

Paper #3

Biofuel Efficiency Analysis

Paper #1

Paper #2

2. 2nd generation biofuels: EtOH from cellulosic material (biomass) and the problem of lignin.

Cellulosic ethanol overview

Lignin engineering

Cellulosic EtOH:

Cellulosic ethanol #1

Cellulosic ethanol #2

Alternative biomass sources

Microbial conversion of cellulosic sugars to EtOH

Biomass Feedstocks

Biomass EtOH Perspective

Transportation of Biomass

Lignin Reduction

Lignin reduction

December 6

3rd generation biofuels: Use of algae oils fro biofuels

Algae Biodiesel

1. Aquatic phototrophs

2. Algae triglycerides

3. Algal Biofuels Perspective

4. Use of Algae for Biofuel Review

5. Constraints to commercialization of algal fuels

6. Algal Biofuel Production and Environmental Impacts

7. Algal Biofuel Versatility

8. Hot water extraction of Algal Biomass

9. Sustainable Development of Algal Biofuels in the USA

December 9

1. 3rd generation of biofuels: Use of algae oils for biofuels.

Use same papers as for December 6

Use same papers as for December 6

2. Use of cyanobacteria for biofuel production

December 10

4th generation biofuels: Genetic engineering of organisms for biofuel production

Engineering corn for better biofuel yield

Plant cell wall engineering

December 11

1. Land and Water issues for biofuel production

Increased GHG emision from land use

Water footprints of crops

Land Use:

Land clearing and carbon debt

Emissions based on land use changes

Carbon Emission Baseline from Deforestation

United Nations Environmental Program Biofuels Analysis of Land Use

Water Issues:

water use perspective

..and water quality


Corn use and water N….


Corn use and N and P runoff

United Nations Environmental Program Biofuels Analysis of Water Use

2. Food supply/cost issues behind biofuel production

LECG analysis on domestic (U.S.) food prices

Feed stock analysis

EtOH effects on world food prices

United Nations Environmental Program Biofuels Analysis of Food Issues

3. Ethanol production in Brazil; environmental and ethical issues

Brazil biofuel industry

Enivronmental and social implications

Paper #1

Paper #2

4. Positive impacts of biofuel production

Overseas Development Institute analysis

Social biofuels issues in India

December 12

International greenhouse gas treaties: The Kyoto Protocol, Yesterday and Today.

Kyoto Protocol facts

Kyoto Protocol

Kyoto economic analysis

Japan Pulls out of Kyoto, 2010

Canada Pulls out of Kyoto, 2011

Russia Pulls out of Kyoto, 2012