From Pond Scum to Power

This animated slideshow introduces biodiesel as a fuel alternative. With concern about the use of petroleum-based fuels at an all-time high, biodiesel is experiencing a popularity surge. And algaeâotherwise known to some as pond scumâ are grabbing headlines as the next potential biodiesel superstar. But how and why do algae make oil? And why do they make so much of it? In this audio slide show, U.C. Berkeley's Kris Niyogi describes the process and its potential.

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Melissa Salpietra
NOVA scienceNOW

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Teaching Tips

Teaching Tips

Use along with your photosynthesis unit to create real-world relevance and increase student interest, then go to an activity on biodiesel.

There is a lot of jargon in the audio, so teachers may need to address this important new vocabulary.

Addresses what algae are and how they produce oil that can be used as a biofuel. Compares algae to land plants as a source for biodiesel.

This resource is partially a video and partially an interactive. It does a great job connecting the dots between photosynthesis and bio-fuels.

Could be used to introduce a unit on photosynthesis.