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MAS531 Bio- and E-fuels

Course description for academic year 2023/2024

Contents and structure

Reducing emissions is one of the biggest challenges for the transport and energy sector, however, there are both benefits and challenges associated with the transition to alternative fuels.

Different applications place different, application-specific demands on energy carriers, and this can affect the operating result for a given application. The transition to new types of bio- or alternative fuels presents challenges that must be understood to avoid problems in operation. Knowledge of system solutions for supply and pre-treatment of fuel(s) will be important for the design of reliable and efficient future installations.

The course provides an overview of how alternative fuels are produced in terms of power requirement, costs, storage and logistics and how to compare these in different applications. The specific properties of synthetic fuels, how they can be analysed and which consequences result from introduction of these to energy systems already in use, will also be covered.


  • Focus on the following alternative energy carriers: Biogas, biodiesel, methanol, hydrogen, ammonia
  • Operation and use-related properties of the most relevant alternative energy carriers
  • Different processes for the production of bio- and synthetic fuels
  • Power-to-X processes and technologies for the production of various energy carriers
  • Well-to-tank analysis for different energy carriers

The course touches upon the following UN Sustainability Goals:

  • #7: Affordable and clean energy for all
  • #9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  • #13: Climate action

Learning Outcome


The student…

  • knows of the most important characteristics and challenges associated with various alternative fuels
  • can describe production processes of the most important alternative energy carriers
  • can account for power requirement, overall cost picture, storage and logistics related to the choice of alternative fuels (well-to-tank)
  • can describe changes and challenges associated with switching to alternative fuels for different applications


The student…

  • can consider various alternative fuels based on volumetric and gravimetric energy density, carbon intensity and storage options and also compare them to traditional fuels
  • can specify the main components and steps of a Power-to-X process for the production of synthetic fuels
  • can select suitable fuels based on given application requirements (including safety and regulations)
  • can assess the consequences of fuel choice for operation of machinery, environment and climate
  • can propose various measures for optimizing operating parameters by replacing fossil with alternative fuels

Overall competence

The student…

  • can work in a structured and independent manner and communicate the results and findings of that work
  • masters relevant expressions, concepts and requirements for a technical report
  • can explain environmental and climate-related consequences in the production and use of alternative fuels

Entry requirements

The study programme’s entry requirements

Recommended previous knowledge

Knowledge in Thermodynamics, Chemistry and Heat transfer

Teaching methods

Lecture, field trips, group work, discussions, assignments, presentation.

Compulsory learning activities

4 written assignments related to the following topics: production technologies and processes; characteristic fuel properties and their consequences; low carbon and carbon-free energy carriers; ''Well-to-wake'' analysis

3 out of the 4 written assignments have to be approved in order to submit the project report.

All students shall present one assignment topic.

It is mandatory

- to attend the presentation day

- to give a presentation of one written submission


Written group-based (2 students) project report. Both Norwegian and English are admissible report languages.

The size of the group can be adjusted (+/- 1) in accordance with the number of students in the course. This is only possible after consultation with the course coordinator.

Grade scale A - F, with F being not passed.

It is possible to deliver a revised version i the following semester if the report receives a non passing grade.

Examination support material

All support material is permitted

More about examination support material