CSES 5403/6406 Bioenergy and the Environment

Since bioenergy is an emerging industry, considerable uncertainty exists in relation to environmental benefits that it might generate. However, bioenergy has the potential to radically change agricultural and forestry practices over the next severakl decades.

This course will highlight the environmental and national security problems caused by use of fossil fuels and the seriousness of declining rural economies, and emphasize the role that bioenergy could play in alleviating these problems. It will also focus on public policy and research that is needed to expand the use of bioenergy.

In this course students will learn about:

  • Fossil fuels and the problems related to using them as a primary source of energy
  • Origin, characteristics, use, cost, advantages and disadvantages of different biomass resources, including agricultural energy crops, woody crops/trees, crop residues, forest residues and animal waste
  • Current and projected future technologies for producing biofuels such as ethanol, biodiesel, bio-oils, and cellulosic gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel
  • Current and projected future technologies for producing electricity from biomass
  • Potential environmental benefits from bioenergy, and potential disadvantages
  • Policy issues related to bioenergy

Taught in spring semester. 3 credits


There are no text books that will adequately cover the material for this course because there is no class similar to it that is taught at any other university. Handouts, articles, and resources will be available on the course Web site in Blackboard or through the Library online or e-Reserve.

*CSES 5403 is the undergraduate version of the course / CSES 6406 is the graduate level version of the course


For More Information

Photo of Adam McGhee
Adam McGhee
Distance Education Coordinator
230B Funchess Hall
Auburn Univ, AL 36849