This video illustrates the advantages of woody biomass as a renewable, carbon-neutral energy source. Woody biomass is underutilized and often overlooked as a renewable fuel, and it can be harvested sustainably and burned cleanly.

This is a debate-style learning activity in which student teams learn about energy sources and are then assigned to represent the different energy sources. Working cooperatively, students develop arguments on the pros and cons of their source over the others.

This video describes how geothermal heat resources in California have been tapped to supply 850 MW of electricity. Images and animations show how the area known as The Geysers has been developed to capture steam, produced from trapped rainwater and heated by the earth. Major challenges include finding suitable geothermal resources to develop, and ensuring that underground water is replenished.

In this activity students make biodiesel from waste vegetable oil and develop a presentation based on their lab experience. Parts of the activity include creation of bio-diesel from clean vegetable oil, creation of bio-diesel from waste vegetable oil, chemical analysis of biodiesel, purification of biodiesel, and creation of soap from glycerin.

In this activity, students explore what types of energy resources exist in their state by examining a state map and data from the Energy Information Administration. Students identify the different energy sources in their state, including the state's renewable energy potential.

This interactive diagram from the National Academy of Sciences shows how we rely on a variety of primary energy sources (solar, nuclear, hydro, wind, geothermal, natural gas, coal, biomass, oil) to supply energy to four end-use sectors (residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation). It also focuses on lost or degraded energy.

This video discusses how methane digesters turn waste from dairy cows, food garbage, and other organic matter into usable gases and other fuels.

In this activity, students explore energy production and consumption by contrasting regional energy production in five different US regions.

This is a long-term inquiry activity in which students investigate locations they believe harbor cellulose-digesting microbes, collect samples, isolate them on selective media, and screen them for cellulase activity. These novel microbes may be useful for the production of cellulosic ethanol. In the process they learn about plating techniques, serial dilutions, symbiotic relationships and enzyme specificity. Two methods are provided, one focusing on isolation of pure microbial strains, the other focusing on finding symbiotic communities of microbes.

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.

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