Athens, Ga. – More than 200 Athens seventh-graders will experience firsthand how wood and other organic materials generate energy at the first Bioenergy Day @ UGA on Oct. 8 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the State Botanical Garden. The event is free and open to the public.
The University of Georgia Bioenergy Systems Research Institute is sponsoring the event.
UGA faculty and students will be on hand to guide students from Hilsman Middle School and other visitors through the hands-on displays about producing renewable energy from biological sources. Interactive exhibits were developed by staff from the BioEnergy Science Center in collaboration with the Creative Discovery Museum in Chattanooga, Tenn., and the Southeast Partnership for Integrated Biomass Supply Systems.
BESC staff at UGA and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory developed “Farming for Fuels” exhibits and lesson plans that teach basic concepts such as the carbon cycle; how woody biomass, such as trees and grasses, can produce biofuels; and the technical and economic obstacles to a bio-based fuel economy.
“Students will visit nine Farming for Fuels work stations that allow students to understand fundamentals of the complex nature of plant cell walls, the issues affecting the use of food versus nonfood crops to produce biofuels such as ethanol, and the mechanical differences between cars run by hydrogen, solar and wind power,” said Janet Westpheling, UGA professor of genetics and BESC activity lead for education and outreach.
Another activity involves testing the sugar content of different liquids and learning how yeast ferments sugar into ethanol for biofuels. Students also get to use a microscope to see the differences between plant cells with their thick cell walls of cellulose and animal cells with thin cell membranes. Lesson plans from the Creative Discovery Museum will help teachers teach more about biofuels in the classroom.
The seventh-graders also will see a tractor-trailer scale mobile wood gasifier turn woody biomass into electricity on a small scale-on the spot. The mobile biomass gasifier comes to UGA as the final stop on a “whistle-stop tour” across the Southeast coordinated IBSS, a partnership of UGA, the University of Tennessee Center for Renewable Carbon and Auburn University.
The mobile gasifier has traveled more than 20,000 miles over the past few years to demonstrate gasification and power generation from biofuels. The mobile unit contains a gasifier, gas filtration unit and a combined heat and power generation unit.
For more information about the event, see http://bioenergy.ovpr.uga.edu/bioenergy-day-uga/
UGA Bioenergy Systems Research Institute
The Bioenergy Systems Research Institute at the University of Georgia supports alternative energy, fuel and materials production through the conversion of biomass. The institute encourages and facilitates research projects in bioenergy that pool UGA’s strengths in forestry, environmental science and engineering with carbohydrate science, genetics and microbiology. The institute also supports education and training of scientists as well as outreach projects designed to involve public and private stakeholders in the development of next-generation bioenergy technologies. For more information, see www.bioenergy.uga.edu
BioEnergy Science Center
BESC is a partnership of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Georgia and other university and industry partners. It is one of three bioenergy research centers established by Department of Energy in 2007 to accelerate progress toward development of liquid biofuels that add an affordable, sustainable, domestically produced option for the nation’s energy supply. The BESC team includes more than 300 researchers from 18 academic and commercial partners. BESC has partnered with the Creative Discovery Museum to educate and inform students about the basics of energy production and utilization. For more information, see www.bioenergycenter.org/besc/
Southeast Partnership for Integrated Biomass Supply Systems
The Southeast Partnership for Integrated Biomass Supply Systems demonstrates real-world solutions toward economically and environmentally sustainable production and conversion of biomass-to-biofuel in the Southeast United States. IBSS is a partnership of the University of Tennessee Center for Renewable Carbon, the University of Georgia, Auburn University and other academic and industrial partners. The partnership is supported by the USDA. For more information, see www.se-ibss.org/