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Biodiesel WebQuest

Hydrogen WebQuest


Take a quest through the World Wide Web to determine your plan of action to create the most biodiesel.


Bill Gates and his wife have a charitable foundation that gives grant money to institutions and organizations that are trying to solve some of the major problems in our world today. They are very interested in innovative education, and recently have become interested in alternative fuels. They have contacted your school about a grant opportunity. The foundation is willing to donate small parcels of land to your school (25 acres each) for groups of students to form experiments in growing plants for biodiesel production. The group that is able to produce the most biodiesel per acre given their location and weather will be guaranteed a job with the Gates Foundation after college. After talking it over with your lab partners, you decide to undertake this challenge.


You have been given 25 acres outside of your town. Of the 25 acres, 5 acres is arable crop land that has produced well in the past. However, the remaining 20 acres are marginal–10 acres are currently being used for pasture (it is very sandy and tends to be dry because it drains so well), and the remainder is scrub with an unknown agricultural record.

Your task is to decide on a plan. What plants will you grow in part or all of your plot of land that will produce the most biodiesel per acre possible? Remember to take into account which plants grow well in your area given your local weather patterns, which plants grow best in the type of soil that you have, and how long it takes for your crops to reach maturity. Figure your total yearly output in kilograms of oil (for the total 25 acres) over the course of 10 years. Be prepared to defend your choice of plants.


Below is a list of worldwide oil producing crops. Florida Agricultural Centers, as well as regional universities, have documents and information about successful crops for Florida, and will be your primary source for information during this WebQuest.

Latin Name
KG Oil/Hectare
Corn  Zea mays 145
Cashew nut Anacardium occidentale 148
Oat  Avena sativa 183
Palm  Erythea salvadorensis 189
Lupine  Lupinus albus 195
Rubber seed  Hevea brasiliensis 217
Kenaf  Hibiscus cannabinus L. 230
Calendula  Calendula offcinalis 256
Cotton  Gossypium hirsutum 273
Hemp Cannabis sativa 305
Soybean Glycine max 375
Coffee Coffea arabica 386
Linseed Linum usitatissimum 402
Hazelnut Corylus avellana 405
Euphorbia Euphorbia lagascae 440
Pumpkin seed Cucubita pepo 449
Coriander Coriandrum sativum 450
Mustard Brassica alba 481
Camelina Camelina sativa 490
Sesame Sesamum indicum 585
Crambe Crambe abyssinica 589
Safflower Carthamus tinctorius 655
Buffalo gourd Cucurbita foetidissima 665
Rice Oriza sativa L. 696
Tung oil tree Aleurites fordii 790
Sunflower Helianthus annuus 800
Cocoa Theobroma cacao 863
Peanut Arachis hypogaea 890
Rapeseed Brassica napus 1000
Olive tree Olea europaea 1019
Piassava Attalea funifera 1112
Gopher plant Euphorbia lathyris 1119
Castor bean Ricinus communis 1188
Bacuri Platonia insignis 1197
Pecan Carya illnoensis 1505
Jojoba Simmondsia chinesis 1528
Babassu palm Orbignya martiana 1541
Jatropha Jatropha curcas 1590
Macadamia nut Macadamia terriflora 1887
Brazil nut Bertholletia excelsa 2010
Avocado Persea americana 2217
Coconut Cocos nucifera 2260
Oiticia Licania rigida 2520
Buriti palm Mauritia flexuosa 2743
Pequi Caryocar brasiliense 3142
Macauba palm Acrocomia aculeate 3775
Oil palm Elaeis guineensis 5000
Table used with permission: From the Fryer to the Fuel Tank: The Complete Guide to Using Vegetable Oil as an Alternative Fuel by Joshua Tickell.


Take a quest through the World Wide Web to research a hydrogen solution. In this WebQuest, you are going to research the history of hydrogen, its present use and future possibilities.


As a candidate for the Presidency, you are getting ready to debate your opponents on national television. Your chief rival has stated that he is committed to the use of hydrogen as a fuel source. You, on the other hand, don't know anything about hydrogen's use as a fuel, and are not prepared for the debate. To help you overcome this disadvantage, you need to do some research.

In this WebQuest, you are going to research the history of hydrogen, its present use and future possibilities.


The debate was scheduled at the last minute, so you have only one week to prepare. I know you are busy with all of the other requirements of your job, but this debate is important and the research must be done. Additionally, you cannot afford to pay someone else do your research due to all the commercials you are airing, so you will have to do it yourself.

Your mission is to find answers to the questions below and prepare your explanations.


Since you have a limited amount of time, the following websites can be used to start your research. This list is not all inclusive and it is expected you will have information from other sites as well.


You will need to answer the following questions. The better you are able to answer these questions, the better you will perform in the debate.

  1. Where and/or how has hydrogen been used in the past?
  2. Where and/or how is hydrogen currently being used?
  3. Where and/or how might hydrogen be used in the future? (What research is currently being done?)
  4. Where might the hydrogen come from? What are the advantages and disadvantages from these sources?


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