In this activity, students will watch a video and answer related questions about the alternatives to petroleum-based fossil fuels such as biofuels and hydrogen fuel cells. Students will learn about the pros and cons of various fuel sources, as well as possibilities for the future of fuels.
By the end of this activity, students should be able to
- Understand how bio-fuels, such as ethanol can be used as a fuel source for vehicles.
- Compare the capabilities of fossil fuels and bio-fuels.
- Provide a basic description of how a hydrogen fuel cell produces electricity.
This activity supports students’ understanding of
- Galvanic Cells
- Renewable Energy
Teacher Preparation: minimal
Lesson: 10 minutes
- No specific safety precautions need to be observed for this activity.
- The Alternative Fuels video was developed as a part of the 2016 AACT-Ford, Chemistry of Cars content writing team project, sponsored by the Ford Motor Company. The entire video series can be found here.
- Additionally, 19 lesson plans related to the Chemistry of Cars theme were developed by the content writing participants. You can learn even more about this project by reading an article from the September 2016 issue of Chemistry Solutions, written by the lead teacher involved in this project.
- The running time of this video is approximately four minutes.
- This video is intended for students to watch, and for teachers to integrate into their curriculum.
- The student questions/answers are presented in sequential order in the video.
- An answer key has also been provided for teacher reference.
- Videos can be shown with the use of a classroom projector, or teachers can generate a Student Video Pass through their AACT membership to allow students to independently access the video.
For the Student
While watching the Alternative Fuels Video, answer the following questions:
- Why are people looking for new fuels?
- Bio-fuels like Ethanol are made the same way as beer and wine, what is this process called?
- Yeast microbes digest ___________ and related molecules found in corn and other crops and produce ethanol as waste.
- Ethanol is ________ efficient than gasoline but _______ our need for petroleum.
- True or False? Microscopic organisms can produce fuels.
- Hydrogen cells react Hydrogen gas and Oxygen gas, which produces water. It also releases what during this reaction?
- Is Hydrogen more or less efficient than traditional fossil fuels?
- What percentage of gasoline does a combustion engine convert to usable energy?
- What percent of hydrogen does a hydrogen fuel cell convert to usable energy?
Bonus Question: Alternative fuels are not without their controversies, although developed with the environment in mind, why might they be less than optimal solutions presently?