Alternative Fuels Used in Transportation (5 Activities)

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Gasoline is the most commonly used fuel for transportation; however, there are multiple alternative fuels that are making their way to the market. These alternative fuels include propane, natural gas, electric hybrids, hydrogen fuel cells, and bio-diesel. Students will probably have heard of some of these alternative fuels, but they may not understand how and why they are better then ordinary gasoline.

The projects included in this section are designed to give students the opportunity to create their own investigation and test alternative fuels to discover how they influence transportation. The projects included will fit easily with regular classroom lessons surrounding scientific inquiry and the scientific method. The activities are:

  • What is the heat content of two alternative fuels?
  • What is the economically best choice between purchasing a hybrid or typical gasoline engine automobile?
  • Determine a Plan For Fleets of Automobiles to Alternative-Fuel Engines
  • Quantify the relative amount of CO2 given off by the methanol vs. ethanol during the combustion process
  • What goes into building a hydrogen fuel cell car?

Science, Chemistry, Physics, Economics, Marketing, Math, Social Studies

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Science Content Standards: 5-8 CONTENT STANDARD A: Science as Inquiry

  • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
  • Understandings about scientific inquiry

CONTENT STANDARD B: Physical Science

  • Properties and changes of properties in matter
  • Transfer of energy

CONTENT STANDARD D: Earth and Space Science

  • Structure of the earth system

CONTET STANDARD E: Science and Technology

  • Abilities of technological design
  • Understandings about science and technology

CONTENT STANDARD F: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

  • Populations, resources, and environments
  • Science and technology in society

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

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