Lesson 5.4 Assignment

  • This project is a summative assessment for the unit. Students should be demonstrating mastery of all the skills covered.
  • Most students will require roughly 10-15 hours of total work time to complete the project
    • Assess the progress of your students regularly using such techniques as asking them to demonstrate their incomplete programs, tracking questions asked during lab time, and/or utilizing peer reviews.
    • Adjust the amount of time allowed for the project to fit the needs of your students
      • It is vital that nearly all students complete the project before moving on
    • If most students have the ability to work on SNAP assignments at home, the amount of in-class time provided can be reduced if necessary.
      • If this approach is taken, be sure to make accommodations for students who are not able to work at home, such as after school lab hours
    • Ensure that students are able to ask questions in class throughout the project
  • See the standard Lab Day Lesson for detailed plans for lab days.

  • Sample initial project solution

  • Overview

    This week’s lesson continues with thermal processes for biomass conversion, this time concentrating on pyrolysis; pyrolysis is heating a material in an inert environment. In addition to providing an in-depth explanation of this process, this lesson will also discuss the various chemical structures found in biomass (essentially in lignocellulosic biomass) and pretreatments that are done to make the materials more amenable for fuels production.

    Lesson Objectives

    By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

    • explain how pyrolysis is different from gasification and combustion;
    • explain how the products are made and used as fuels and chemicals;
    • determine which thermal process is best to use depending on biomass source and product utilization;
    • describe the basic chemical structures of biomass, namely lignocellulosic biomass;
    • evaluate pretreatment options for lignocellullosic options and explain why thay are necessary.

    Lesson 5 Road Map

    This lesson will take us one week to complete. Please refer to the Course Syllabus for specific time frames and due dates. Specific directions for the assignment below can be found within this lesson.

    1Read Wald, Matthew. "On the Horizon, Planes Powered by Plant Fuel." New York TImes 17 Jan. 2012.5.4
    2Read "Obama’s Pitch on Energy." New York Times 14 Feb. 2012, The Opinion Pages sec.5.4
    3Read Laughlin, Robert B. Powering the Future: How We Will (eventually) Solve the Energy Crisis and Fuel the Civilization of Tomorrow . New York: Basic, 2011. Print. (Chapter 3)5.4
    4Homework #55.4
    5Discussion #55.4
    6Exam #25.4


    If there is anything in the lesson materials that you would like to comment on, or don't quite understand, please post your thoughts and/or questions to our Throughout the Course Questions discussion forum in Canvas. I will check that discussion forum daily to respond. Remember that while you are there, you should also feel free to post your own responses if you are able to help out a classmate.

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