This comphrehensive presentation answers the questions: What Are Advanced Biofuels? Why Are They Important? What Are They Used For? How Are They Made? Can We Buy Them NOW? It also includes a class/group activity to develop a deeper understanding of the concept of sustainability from economic, environmental and social perspectives. After the exercise and a review of some elements pertinent to sustainability analysis, the presentation goes into deeper discussions of the make-up of plant cells, explanations of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. Algae and cyanobacteria, will be included in future presentations.
To develop a deeper understanding of the concept of sustainability from economic, environmental and social perspectives.
ACTIVITY DESCRIPTION AND TEACHING MATERIALS
- Definitions of advanced biofuels;
- Review of feedstock and technologies for production of advanced biofuels
- Description of plant cell composition as solar energy storage system;
- Review of biomass recalcitrance;
- Review of sustainability elements (economic, environmental, social) and analysis.
- Provides exercises to frame discussion of each element of sustainability, practice conducting brief sustainability analysis with regard to renewable liquid transportation fuels.
The presentation answers the questions:
- What Are Advanced Biofuels?
- Why Are They Important?
- What Are They Used For?
- How Are They Made?
- Can We Buy Them NOW?
It also includes a class/group activity to develop a deeper understanding of the concept of sustainability from economic, environmental and social perspectives.
After the exercise and a review of some elements pertinent to sustainability analysis, the presentation goes into deeper discussions of the make-up of plant cells, explanations of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. Algae and cyanobacteria, will be included in future presentations.
>> The presentation wraps up with a list of jobs related to an advanced biofuels industry.
Download this PowerPoint >> What's so Advanced About Advanced Biofuels?
TEACHING NOTES / CONTEXT FOR USE
Initially prepared for middle school science/alternative energy classes and for a community college "learning in retirement" classes, this can be used as a brief overview or as a framework for deeper discussions. It begins with definitions, both practical and legal (regulatory, etc.). It focuses on fleshing out the practical understanding, illustrating current use of biofuels. Delving deeper into how advanced biofuels are made moves from photos of a variety of feedstocks (biomass, raw materials) to a discussion of the technologies used to convert those feedstocks to useful fuels; to take the solar energy stored in the plants and other feedstock and turn it into something more portable and more appropriate for powering engines for transportation (and, occasionally for heat/power generation).
An illustration of the carbon life cycle is included to show how carbon from fossil fuels is "brought out of storage" and how carbon taken from the air by plants is recycled from use powering engines or sustaining people and other animals.
Next, the concept of sustainability (economic, environmental, social) is introduced. Small group activities enhance understanding of each of these elements of sustainability in turn and inform large group discussions. Each group is given a question that relates to advanced biofuels production, deployment and use. After small group creative thinking and presentation of answers to the questions, the large group can integrate all the elements in a deeper discussion.
Once these basics are understood, the PowerPoint moves to more technical discussions of biomass recalcitrance, conversion technologies and deployment issues. Depending on the time available and the sophistication of the students, the presentation can skip the in-depth scientific slides and move to the end of the presentation with a discussion of the types of jobs needed to achieve understanding, development, deployment and use of advanced biofuels.
No assessment tool is included. Teachers or presenters can create an easy-to-grade multiple choice test of understanding of the basic information about feedstocks and technologies, carbon life cycle, etc. Writing assignments can assess an understanding of the interaction of the elements of sustainability in the context of producing and using renewable fuels for transportation. Group grades can be given related to the understanding and ability to syntesize ideas as demonstrated in the group activity projects.
Research projects can be assigned for students to explore any of the specific topics in greater detail.
REFERENCES AND RESOURCES
This area is changing rapidly. www.AdvancedBiofuelsUSA.org has up-to-date posts from current news resources as well as sections for teachers and students. Advanced Biofuels USA, a nonprofit educational organization advocates for the adoption of advanced biofuels as an energy security, military flexibility, economic development and climate change mitigation/pollution control solution. Our key tool for accomplishing this is our web site, www.AdvancedBiofuelsUSA.org, a resource for everyone from opinion-leaders, decision-makers and legislators to industry professionals, investors, feedstock growers and researchers; as well as teachers and students.
Advanced biofuels, their feedstocks, biomass conversion technologies, deployment and uses. Includes sustainability (economic, environmental, social) analysis and discussion activities.