Bioenergy in schools

Bioenergy can be incorporated into many parts of the school curriculum and can assist in the teaching of botany, chemistry, mathematics, IT and environmental science. Bioenergy Association encourages its members to work with local schools to assist them include aspects of bioenergy within the teaching curriculum. A large number of schools use biomass fuels for heating and the curriculum can be based around the heat plant with studies on fuel and heat use within the school. A list of schools using biomass energy for heating is here Information Sheet 05.

Typical curriculum topics:

  • Botany - the study of plants as a source of fuel, characteristics of different species, what plants are the best source of fuel, what is the difference between a grass and a tree? etc
  • Chemistry - what are the chemical components of plants, what can chemicals in plants be used for? How can i make liquid biofuels out of plant material? Under what conditions do plants decompose and make biogas and fertiliser? What is the chemical composition of the fertiliser produced from different organic wastes?
  • Physics - What is the thermal output and efficiency of the school heating system.?
  • Mathematics - develop a thermal model of the school heating system.
  • Economics - What is the cost of heating the school.

Teaching resources

Any schools wishing to obtain resource material or assistance with any of their projects may download free from the association's websites or contact the association executive. Good sources of teaching resources are:

Schools showing the way

Nayland College fueling a sustainable future - Nayland College uses carbon neutral, renewable wood energy to heat their classrooms and pool. Success Fuel is helping Nayland College celebrate their commitment to clean energy and a sustainable future.

Kaikorai Valley High School Youth Enterprise Group in Dunedin - have been working with Bioenergy Association members, ADI to demonstrate how easy it is to turn waste into energy. They chose to look at treating food waste by anaerobic digestion.The Kaika Energy Team and sponsors They have been nominated for several awards and won 4 at the regional finals, as well as taking out the top regional prize, and were finalists in the Youth Enterprise of the year awards in Auckland in October.

Otaki College - is growing their own trees to produce wood fuel. They are experimenting with different species and the project is linked to several curriculum items throughout different classes of  the school.

With the assistance of Energise Otaki and financially support by WWF and Curious Minds funding the school is showing the relevance of wood energy to the community.