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Biofuels: A hundred years of getting there

Switch Energy, U.S. Department of Energy

This video is one of a series produced by the Switch Energy project. It highlights the use of biofuels as a renewable source of energy.

Video length: 2:16 min.

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Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

A combination of strategies is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The most immediate strategy is conservation of oil, gas, and coal, which we rely on as fuels for most of our transportation, heating, cooling, agriculture, and electricity. Short-term strategies involve switching from carbon-intensive to renewable energy sources, which also requires building new infrastructure for alternative energy sources. Long-term strategies involve innovative research and a fundamental change in the way humans use energy.
About Teaching the Guiding Principle
Other materials addressing GPe

Energy Literacy

Humans transfer and transform energy from the environment into forms useful for human endeavors.
Other materials addressing:
4.1 Humans transfer and transform energy.
Fossil and bio fuels are organic matter that contain energy captured from sunlight.
Other materials addressing:
4.3 Fossil and bio fuels contain energy captured from sunlight.
Different sources of energy and the different ways energy can be transformed, transported and stored each have different benefits and drawbacks.
Other materials addressing:
4.7 Different sources of energy have different benefits and drawbacks.

Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Learn more about the Benchmarks

Different ways of obtaining, transforming, and distributing energy have different environmental consequences.
Explore the map of concepts related to this benchmark

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Additional biofuel high school experiments are located at Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center http://www.glbrc.org/education/educationalmaterials
  • Educators may consider discussing the local availability of biofuels and how they could be transported to other regions, once developed into a transportation fuel, just like petroleum oil.

About the Science

  • The video describes use of sugar in Brazil for bio fuel. It describes why this process has challenges (use of a food crop, water and fertilizers, scale-up, and technical limitations to converting cellulose from plant to biofuel). It suggests that we should expand beyond non-food crops.
  • Comments from expert scientist: This activity consists of a series of interviews of different high profile people from prestigious organizations within the biofuels research and broader fuels communities. This resource should be used to discuss the potential role of biofuels in the future energy portfolio. This resource assumes some familiarity with the current use of corn ethanol and biofuels research beyond corn ethanol. It is important to frame these resources before sending students diving into them.

About the Pedagogy

  • Lesson plans are not currently available but projected to be in late 2013.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • No transcript or closed captioning available.

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN


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