Students will be introduced to biofuels and biomass and understand why it is a renewable energy source. They will explore uses of both historic biofuels (wood, whale oil) and current biofuels (biodiesel, ethanol, and cellulose). Students will learn about current ethanol production issues (for example, using corn vs. switch grass as a biofuel).
Students will investigate how to optimally prepare a biofuel source for conversion to a combustible product. In a lab activity, students will break down cellulose from paper pulp to release the sugar component. The "releasing variable" will be tested. These include: water, cellulase, and rubbing alcohol. This activity models how the raw materials are refined to process liquid fuels.