Life Cycle Assessment of Biofuels 101

Life Cycle Assessment of Biofuels 101

When selecting alternative fuels, it is important to consider the relative advantages and disadvantages of each. This activity asks students to begin to consider the life cycle energy and carbon dioxide emission costs of gasoline, corn ethanol, and cellulosic ethanol. The various pieces help students trace energy and matter through a complex system and begin to critically analyze graphical comparisons of different fuels.

Grade Level Middle School through Undergraduate (Grades 6-16)
Subjects Environmental Science, Agriculture, Engineering
Resource Type Stand-Alone Activity
Concepts/Skills life cycle assessment, sustainability, forms of energy, carbon cycle, systems, modeling, photosynthesis, respiration, combustion, fermentation
Time Required Two or three 50-minute class periods
Prior Knowledge Familiarity with the carbon cycle, types of energy, energy transformations
Required Supplies Activity package and supplementary video materials:
Preview
 
Download Life Cycle Assessment of Biofuels 101 Package (.zip, 13.9 MB)
Includes: Teacher Instructions and Answer Key, Student Activities and Worksheets, Supplementary Materials