Bioenergy

The Bioenergy Workforce Development for Educators curriculum was developed for the inaugural workshop on bioenergy technology research developed by ORNL with funding provided by the Department of Energy’s BioEnergy Technologies Office (BETO). The objective of this program is to better equip educators with training, materials, and lesson plans to teach their students about bioenergy and to prepare the next generation of students for employment in the bioeconomy. The activities integrate bioenergy topics into lessons that cover the content in the 2018 Tennessee Academic Standards for Science and Math.

A three-day workshop, held at the ORAU Center for Science Education, provided instruction and content for teaching about bioenergy in high school and middle school classrooms. Participants heard presentations from Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers and toured the ORNL Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, National Transportation Research Center, FACE, SPRUCE, the Bioenergy and Water Ecology labs, Graphite Reactor, and the UT Arboretum.

Topics included alternative energies, bioenergy, solar technologies, mitigating harmful emissions, and computational and visualization resources.

  • Growing Algae

    Subject: Biology I or AP Biology

    Students will explore the carbon cycle by growing algae and measuring the biomass using a colorimeter or dry weight. After learning the procedure for growing algae, students can use critical thinking to develop and test a plan to increase the amount of biomass grown. Increasing algal biomass is a currently researched topic to lead to larger amount of bioenergy.

    Inspired by the research of Terry Mathews, Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    Relating Photosynthesis & Cellular Respiration Using Algae

    Subject: Biology I

    Using bromothymol blue as an indicator, students will observe the carbon dioxide in water being removed by spirogyra undergoing photosynthesis. Students will relate their observations to the larger carbon cycle.

    Inspired by the research of Terry Mathews, Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

  • Ethanol Production

    Subject: Chemistry I

    Students will use stoichiometry to determine how much ethanol is produced as they measure the volume of Carbon Dioxide gas produced from various feedstocks by yeast.

    Inspired by the research of Brian Davison, Chief Scientist, Biotechnology, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    Catalysts and Reaction Rates

    Subject: Chemistry II

    Students will investigate Catalysts and Reaction Rates in the framework of bioenergy.

    Inspired by the research of James Parks, Energy and Transportation Science Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

  • Density and Properties of Wood

    Subject: Physical Science, Seventh Grade Math

    Students will use density cubes and different types of wood to investigate density and physical properties that are beneficial in bio-derived materials for large-scale additive manufacturing (3D printing).

    Inspired by the research of Erin Webb, Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    Algae Shape and Sinking Rate

    Subject: Physical Science, Physical World Concepts

    Students will investigate how different shapes of algae sink at different rates as they compare position-time and velocity-time for student-engineered algal shapes.

    Inspired by the research of Terry Mathews, Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

  • Box Plot Analysis of Forest Growth in a Pellet Mill Region

    Subject: 9th Grade Algebra 1

    Students will create and compare box plots for forest area data. Data analysis will include five number summaries, range, interquartile range and outliers.

    Inspired by the research of Esther S. Parish, Center for BioEnergy Sustainability, Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    Statistical Analysis of Forest Growth in a Pellet Mill Region

    Subject: 9th Grade Algebra 1

    Students will using graphing calculator technology to find mean, median and standard deviation for two sets of forest area data. They will use the values they find to compare the two data sets.

    Inspired by the research of Esther S. Parish, Center for BioEnergy Sustainability, Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    Linear Regression of Forest Growth in a Pellet Mill Region

    Subject: 9th Grade Algebra 1

    Students will create scatter plots and use their graphing calculator to find regression models for two sets of forest area data. They will interpret the slope, y-intercept and correlation coefficient from their models. They will also use their models to predict values that within and outside the provided timeframe.

    Inspired by the research of Esther S. Parish, Center for BioEnergy Sustainability, Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    Unit Conversions in Biofuel Applications

    Subject: 9th Grade Algebra 1

    Students will calculate common quantities used in agriculture. Emphasis is placed on unit analysis.

    Inspired by the research of Erin Webb, Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    Comparisons of Future Biomass Production by Region

    Subject: 9th Grade Algebra 1

    Students will find and compare linear regression equations for expected biomass production by regions of the country. This lesson has a link to an interactive visualization tool. Both teachers and students can explore data and create extension to the lesson.

    Inspired by the research of Michael Hilliard, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    Calculating Average Distance Biomass will Travel to a Biorefinery – Geometry based

    Subject: 10th Grade Geometry

    Students will utilize a complex, solid geometry model to calculate average distance travel distance of all biomass in a circular area. Students will then create a generalized formula for this problem.

    Inspired by the research of Michael Hilliard, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    Calculating Average Distance Biomass will Travel to a Biorefinery – Calculus based

    Subject: 12th Grade Calculus

    Students will solve a biomass transportation problem by creating an integral to find the volume a solid of revolution. They will then use calculus to derive a generalized formula that can use to find the average distance between all points in a circle and the center for any size circle.

    Inspired by the research of Michael Hilliard, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

  • The following files contain the slides from presentations given by ORNL scientists at the Bioenergy Workforce Development for Educators Workshop June 14-16, 2017. This content can be used to develop lesson plans for teaching bioenergy to middle and high school students.

    Introduction to U.S. Energy Use and Bioenergy

    Tim Theiss, Bioenergy Technologies Program, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    Modeling of Bioenergy Processes

    James Parks, Energy and Transportation Science Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    Bioenergy End Use in Spark-Ignition Engines

    Brian West, Fuels, Engines, and Emissions Research Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    ORNL’s Sustainability Research for the DOE BioEnergy Technologies Office

    Esther S. Parish, Center for BioEnergy Sustainability, Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    Use of Experimental Systems to Improve Mechanistic Understanding and Refine Climate Models

    Jeff Warren, Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    An Integrated Strategy to Understand Biomass Recalcitrance

    Brian Davison, Chief Scientist, Biotechnology, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    Algae: Fuel for the future?

    Terry Mathews, Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    Tools for Understanding the Potential Availability of US Biomass

    Michael Hilliard, Oak Ridge National Laboratory