Lesson Plan 1
COBURNING BIOMASS AND COAL IN THE FUTURE
Created by Teachers, Engineers, and
Lesson Plan Created By:
In Collaboration With:
Richard J. Jones, Ph.D., Physical Scientist
National Energy Technology Laboratory
- The students will describe the flow of
energy from energy source to the consumer.
- The students will consider the viability of
other sources of energy production.
- The students will consider the economic
sensibility of energy production.
- The students, in mixed groups, will address
the following problems concerning one form of future energy production: Coburning Coal and
- What are some sources of biomass?
- How do we efficiently ship source of biomass to power plant?
- How do we prepare the biomass for burning?
- What are some possible problems with the burning of biomass?
- What are the possible losses and efficiencies of burning
As the United States continues to require more
energy production in order to meet its ever increasing demands, the need for new energy
and greater efficiency of already existing power plants and consumers is attracting more
One option being looked at by the Federal
Energy Technology Center in Pittsburgh is the cofiring of Biomass, once living material
that has stored energy inside, in coal fired electrical power plants. By mixing various
inexpensive materials such as paper or wood with coal, power plants can expect to burn
less coal thus reducing operating costs by burning less coal.
Before this option can be employed, there are
several major problems that must be overcome. In most coal burning power plants, the coal
must be pulverized into a powder form. This pulverized coal, when burned produces a
constant and uniform heat when compared to the older method of stoking burners. If biomass
is to be burned in a preexisting coal-fired power plant, the biomass must be dried and
pulverized into a powder form. The biomass must also be shipped from the point of origin
to the processing plant or the power plant. All of the preceding involve using energy to
get energy. The net rate of efficiency has yet to be determined and is what this lesson
plan is based on.
Have students list all sources of energy.
Sources should include: petroleum, solar, coal, nuclear, wind, tides, geothermal, etc.
Have students trace energy from original
source of energy to power plant and to light bulb. See example below.
Download PDF file of Lesson Plan 1 [PDF-44KB]