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Biofuels 101

Switch Energy

This suite of short video clips is part of a series produced by the Switch Energy project. There are several video segments that discuss different perspectives of biofuels as a renewable source of energy.

13 video segments; most are around 2 minutes.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Video supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 3 Disciplinary Core Ideas
High School: 8 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

  • 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 biofuel. It describes why the challenges of this, such as the use of a food crop, water and fertilizers, scale-up, and technical limitations to converting cellulose from plant to biofuel. The video suggests that we should expand beyond non-food crops.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The page 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. The videos assume 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

  • The website links to educational materials by the NEED project.

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


Next Generation Science Standards See how this Video supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 3

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.B3:Some chemical reactions release energy, others store energy.

MS-PS3.B2:The amount of energy transfer needed to change the temperature of a matter sample by a given amount depends on the nature of the matter, the size of the sample, and the environment.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 8

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.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-PS3.A1:Energy is a quantitative property of a system that depends on the motion and interactions of matter and radiation within that system. That there is a single quantity called energy is due to the fact that a system’s total energy is conserved, even as, within the system, energy is continually transferred from one object to another and between its various possible forms.

HS-PS3.A2:At the macroscopic scale, energy manifests itself in multiple ways, such as in motion, sound, light, and thermal energy.

HS-PS3.B1:Conservation of energy means that the total change of energy in any system is always equal to the total energy transferred into or out of the system.

HS-PS3.B2:Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but it can be transported from one place to another and transferred between systems

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