This Project-Based Learning (PBL) lesson is originally designed for the STEM Capstone course at Athens Drive Magnet High School in Raleigh, NC. This course was created as the final project course for senior students in the high school’s STEM Energy and Sustainability Academy.
The curriculum for the course focuses on developing engineering mindsets and approaches to problem solving. This PBL is meant to apply those procedures to chemical looping research and development being completed at NC State University by Dr. Fanxing Li and his research team. The PBL begins by defining the problem of CO2 overproduction as a result of fossil fuel usage and ends with students designing their own chemical looping combustion power plant in an attempt to address the problem.
|High School||AP Environmental Science, Earth Science, STEM||Shane Barry|
Day 1 - Energy Basics
- Introductory Activity: A Hose and a Bucket
- Students are presented with a problem and asked to find a solution. The problem mirrors the overproduction of CO2 issue that is contributing to global warming
- Follow up: if the bucket is Earth, the water is CO2, and the hose is energy production, is your proposed solution still feasible? Why? If not, could it be modified to fit the new parameters?
- The Basics of Electrical Energy
- Students are introduced to (or review) how energy is generated and the byproducts of the processes.
- Green Energy Basics
- Students comment on methods of energy generation that result in little to no byproducts (exit ticket).
Day 2 - Energy production while lowering CO2
- The Wedge Concept
- Students are introduced to ways of energy management that might reduce generation of carbon dioxide on a large scale. Energy generation possibilities will be focused on in this class period.
- Generate: The Game of Energy Choices (EPA)
- Students manage an energy portfolio given certain parameters and explain decisions as to why they created the layout that they did. The first mention of CCS technologies occurs here.
Future alternative: The Wedges Game
Day 3 - Carbon Storage
- Introductory Discussion: Is it reasonable to assume that all energy production can be from green energy sources?
- What takeaways from Generate: The Game of Energy Choices helped you come to this determination?
- Share Energy Cost Comparison images during introductory activity
- State of Carbon Storage
- Focus moves from green energy generation to how to handle CO2 output from fossil fuel by looking into NAE GCE Carbon Sequestration and having students produce a summary of the current capabilities within the United States
Day 4 - CCS Power Plants
- Virtual Interview with Dr. Fanxing Li
- CCS Student Design
- Students combine their knowledge of green energy generation and carbon storage to form a design for a chemical looping CCS power plant. Three major stages are addressed: fuel input, chemical looping metal oxide, and carbon storage method. A cost per generation of electrical power calculation will be completed in order to determine the efficiency of the chosen design.
Day 5 - CCS Power Plant Design
- Compilation of all items to this point into a scientific poster that answers the DQ
Day 6 - Work Day (asynchronous day)
- Students complete any portions of the project that have not yet been completed and submit by a stated time
- Student work will be reviewed by Dr. Li’s graduate students currently working in his lab
Students will be asked to reflect on graduate student comments with this Reflection Document
About the Author
Shane Barry, a 2020-21 Kenan Fellow, is a high school science teacher. He graduated with a degree in civil engineering from NC State University, and after working as a field engineer followed his passion for education.