Bridging today’s problem solvers to tomorrow’s clean energy future
The Bioenergy Research and Education Bridge Program (BRIDGES) is a brand-new case study-based education curriculum created by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) in partnership with Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) and Idaho National Laboratory (INL) as well as education, community, industry, and other government partners.
Intended to be taught in diverse settings from high school to technical and community colleges to universities courses, the all-inclusive classroom case study materials within the BRIDGES Program are designed to encourage future careers in bioenergy for all students. Depending on the student level, each case study curriculum should take at least 3 classroom hours to complete.
BETO and its partners have developed four sets of student and instructor guides, each focused on topical, authentic case study scenarios in the bioenergy field. Each case study explores solutions for a more secure energy future using bioenergy technologies while addressing cultural responsiveness and issues surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). These case studies focus on the following themes:
- Farm to Flight: Are Sustainable Aviation Fuels Good for the Environment? Explore the life cycle analysis of greenhouse gas emissions of biofuels compared to petroleum fuels.
- Upcycling: Could My Plastic Bag Someday Become the Sustainable Alternative? Investigate how chemists find new ways to upcycle plastic for a circular economy.
- Regional Feedstocks: Are They the Answer to Achieving a Net Zero Future? Evaluate regional biomass and waste resources for conversion to transportation biofuels.
- Municipal Solid Waste-to-Energy: Traditional Ecology and Environmental Justice. Explore how the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes could transform their solid waste stream into biofuels and other products.
Materials and Structure
Each case study is comprised of three standard documents, including a student guide, an instructor guide, and an overview fact sheet. Additionally, depending on the case study, students and educators will have access to various copies of primary research such as literature and raw data, as well as links to credible online resources for background research including YouTube videos, journal articles, and other government reference materials. Each guide is designed to first provide a foundational background and then build on its provided learning materials, leading students towards critical thinking and decision making surrounding the case explored.
Each instructor guide reflects the flow and information from the corresponding student guide while also providing tips for quick start learning, a checklist for any prerequisite knowledge, grading rubrics, additional student research ideas, answer keys, and additional instructions.
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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Integration
To support DEI, the BRIDGES Program incorporates place-based learning and culturally responsive teaching. The provided case studies are inspired by BETO’s research in long-term adaptation, resiliency, and sustainable practices and policies for addressing energy burdens of historically disadvantaged communities across the United States.
BRIDGES case studies are designed for seamless use in various classroom settings, from virtual to in-person to hybrid learning, and can be used in any non-science courses and majors at the high school, technical/community college, or university level. BRIDGES aims to provide adequate background and foundational materials for students and instructors with no prior bioenergy knowledge.
The BRIDGES Program integrated feedback on content, design, and piloting from minority-serving institution partners through the BETO BRIDGES National Review Board.
While the BRIDGES Program is produced and funded by BETO and its lab partners, ANL and INL, it would not be possible without support from the BRIDGES National Review Board, which included education and community partners that supported case study design, appropriateness, and classroom piloting; as well as industry and government partners that developed scenarios and reviewed materials for authenticity.
Education and Community Partners:
- Allegheny College
- Battelle Education
- College of Eastern Idaho
- Haskell Indian Nations University
- Learning Blade
- Moraine Valley Community College
- Northeastern Illinois University
- Shoshone-Bannock Tribes
- Waubonsee Community College
Industry and Government Partners:
- Chevron-Phillips Chemical
- United Airlines
For more information or with questions, email Bioenergy_BRIDGES@ee.doe.gov.