Comparing Hazardous Emissions of Transportation Fuels

Earlier this month, I was excited to see a gas station in Southern Pines with a focus on alternative fuels – their sign prominently displaying E10 (unleaded gasoline), E85 and B20 (biodiesel)!  As with other lessons highlighted in this blog, the lesson highlighted below facilitates students’ ability to be able to critically evaluate different fuels.  While there are many factors to consider when comparing fuels, one factor is the hazardous emissions released by the combustion of each.

Diesel Fuels Duke It Out is a lesson plan from NIEHS’s Environmental Health Perspectives Science Education Program. In this lesson, students analyze results from a research study on petroleum diesel and biodiesel todetermine how these fuels differ in terms of hazardous emissions (oxides of nitrogen (NOx), total hydrocarbons (THC), carbon
monoxide (CO), and particulate matter (PM). Then students compare the results of the study to a summary article on biodiesel.  You could enhance this lesson by also asking your students to research and consider the hazardous emissions profile of E85.


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