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Biofuels Video

Fireside Productions, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

This video provides an overview of the research of the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on converting biomass to liquid fuels.

Video length: 5:19 min.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Video supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas
High School: 6 Disciplinary Core Ideas

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

  • References on biomass/biofuel research are given at the bottom of the webpage.

About the Science

  • NREL scientists introduce and review the problems of biomass energy and how they are working to solve those problems.
  • A video about the principles of converting biomass to liquid transportation fuels.
  • The video is somewhat dated, making references to President Bush's 2006 State of the Union Address. Government policy with regards to biofuels is now different from what it was when this video was made.
  • Comments from expert scientist: This video presents NREL scientists's effort to made ethanol from cellulose and hemicellulose. These are the fibrous material that are abundant in nature and make up the bulk of most plant matter.
  • The goal is generating Bio-fuels to address the energy crisis.

About the Pedagogy

  • The video is embedded in NREL's Learning about Renewable Energy - Biofuels page. It is one page in their Learning sequence.
  • There is mention of how current research is working on ending the "fuel vs. feed" debate, which raises the question of whether food crop biomass should go toward feeding people or making biofuels.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Text version of video is provided.
  • The video cannot be displayed at full screen.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Video supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 2

MS-ESS3.A1:Humans depend on Earth’s land, ocean, atmosphere, and biosphere for many different resources. Minerals, fresh water, and biosphere resources are limited, and many are not renewable or replaceable over human lifetimes. These resources are distributed unevenly around the planet as a result of past geologic processes.

MS-PS1.B1:Substances react chemically in characteristic ways. In a chemical process, the atoms that make up the original substances are regrouped into different molecules, and these new substances have different properties from those of the reactants.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 6

HS-ESS3.A1:Resource availability has guided the development of human society.

HS-ESS3.A2:All forms of energy production and other resource extraction have associated economic, social, environmental, and geopolitical costs and risks as well as benefits. New technologies and social regulations can change the balance of these factors.

HS-ETS1.A1:Criteria and constraints also include satisfying any requirements set by society, such as taking issues of risk mitigation into account, and they should be quantified to the extent possible and stated in such a way that one can tell if a given design meets them.

HS-ETS1.A2:Humanity faces major global challenges today, such as the need for supplies of clean water and food or for energy sources that minimize pollution, which can be addressed through engineering. These global challenges also may have manifestations in local communities

HS-ETS1.B1:When evaluating solutions, it is important to take into account a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, and to consider social, cultural, and environmental impacts.

HS-PS1.B1:Chemical processes, their rates, and whether or not energy is stored or released can be understood in terms of the collisions of molecules and the rearrangements of atoms into new molecules, with consequent changes in the sum of all bond energies in the set of molecules that are matched by changes in kinetic energy.

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