• University of Leeds

Renewable Energy: Achieving Sustainability through Bioenergy

Understand the principles of bioenergy and learn how to harness this form of renewable energy to achieve sustainability.

Renewable Energy: Achieving Sustainability through Bioenergy

Learn about the principles and environmental implications of bioenergy.

On this two week course, you will explore bioenergy, one of the most diverse and readily available sources of renewable energy. You’ll look into what types of biomass can be used and how sustainable energy solutions can be developed in a wide range of communities.

Understand how biomass is formed and how it can be converted into green energy.

You will learn how solar energy converts inorganic matter into biomass and consider the origins of fossil fuel. As you investigate different sources of biofuel, you will explore some of the associated socioeconomic and environmental implications.

You’ll then study how biomass can be converted into clean energy using different technologies before delving into social issues associated with biomass combustion.

Explore the social, economic and environmental implications of bioenergy by looking at global applications and case studies.

You will learn about the use of biogas and liquid biofuels such as palm oil by looking at case studies from around the world.

As you explore how communities use bioenergy, you’ll understand how it can be used to improve access to clean renewable energy to those that need it the most and gain an insight into practical applications.

You will also learn how people use a range of energy technologies in their homes by ‘stacking’ and explore ways that sustainability is enhanced by using bioenergy in different communities.

Develop practical skills that will help you to develop real-life energy solutions.

This skills-based course will enable you to put into practice the knowledge you’ve acquired by conducting a feasibility study for introducing bioenergy technologies into a small community. You will also get to use tools and gather technical information to help you develop your expertise and explore the topic further.

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  • Week 1

    Plant Power

    • Welcome

      Before you get started, take some time to find out about this course and what you will be learning about. You will also have the opportunity to meet other learners and plan your learning journey.

    • Transformation of the sun's energy to biomass

      In this activity you will learn about the process of capturing the sun's energy through photosynthesis. You will also investigate different fuel types, from fossil to fuel wood, and how these can be used by people.

    • Converting biomass to energy

      In this activity you will explore the second principle: how humans burn fossils and biomass to release energy.

    • Social issues and biomass combustion

      In this activity you will investigate the third principle: the social issues of converting biomass to energy.

    • Summary

      You have now reached the end of week 1 of Renewable Energy: Achieving Sustainability through Bioenergy. In this activity you will review the three principles covered.

  • Week 2

    Investigating biogas and gasification

    • Welcome

      Welcome to week 2 of Renewable energy: achieving sustainability through bioenergy. This week will focus on case the social, economic and environment impacts of Biogas and Palm Oil. You will then create a feasibility study..

    • Case study: Biogas

      This activity explore a case study on biogas from our partner organisations in Uganda and Indonesia. You will explore why biogas has been chosen as the bioenergy technology from economic, social and environmental perspectives.

    • Case study: Oil palm

      This activity presents a case study about oil palm. You will explore palm oil from economic, social and environmental perspectives.

    • Finding the right bioenergy technology

      As promised at the beginning of the course, you now have the opportunity to write a feasibility study for the use of bioenergy in a Ugandan village.

    • Summary

      This week you explored the social, economic and environmental impacts of Bioenergy and created you own feasibility study. You will now review and reflect on your learning.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

Learning on this course

If you'd like to take part while our educators are leading the course, they'll be joining the discussions, in the comments, between these dates:

  • 8 Nov 2021 - 21 Nov 2021

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explore some of the basic principles about bioenergy such as the nature of biomass pyrolysis and fermentation.
  • Become conversant with interdisciplinary approaches to renewable energy to see how technical, social, economic and environmental components interact.
  • Develop practical skills on integrated renewable energy such as selection of technologies and feedstocks to match local socio-economic needs.

Who is the course for?

The course is designed for anyone interested in renewable energy, bioenergy and achieving sustainable energy solutions. It will be of particular interest to students studying relevant disciplines, academic researchers, professionals in the energy industry, and NGOs.

The course features examples and case studies from Uganda, Mexico and Indonesia and so it will be of particular interest to communities from these countries as well as countries with similar energy needs.

This course is designed to support you as a professional. By completing all aspects of the course, you will have achieved 8 hours of CPD time.

Who will you learn with?

Jon Lovett is Chair in Global Challenges in the School of Geography at the University of Leeds and works on institutional economics.

Who developed the course?

University of Leeds

As one of the UK’s largest research-based universities, the University of Leeds is a member of the prestigious Russell Group and a centre of excellence for teaching.


funded by

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council logo

funded by


funded by

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council logo

content provided by


content provided by

Resilience Development Initiative logo

content provided by

Centre for Research in Energy and Energy Conservation logo

content provided by

Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia (UPI) logo

content provided by

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew logo

content provided by

GIRA logo

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