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Biofuels: Investigating Ethanol Production and Combustion (Developed by SEPUP)

kit #39S

This LAB-AIDS® kit is designed for use with six groups of four, or at most five, students. If your classes have more students than this kit is designed to accommodate, you can buy extra components. 39SEL kits contain enough materials for one additional student group.
This activity includes three major parts.
♦ Investigation One - is a demonstration of the fermentation of corn and cane sugar, the two food sources used most commonly to produce ethanol, and the distillation of the fermented stillage to produce fuel
♦ Investigation Two - students investigate the energy released by the combustion of ethanol and kerosene and compares the results
♦ Investigation Three - students measure and compare two by-products - CO2 and particulute matter - of the two fuels. Students compare results and discuss the trade-offs of bio-fuels and fossil fuels as sources of energy


  • Chemical reactions that release energy, such as the burning of fuels, occur all around us
  • Students conduct scientific investigations, use mathematics to improve investigations, and formula models using evidence
  • Human resource consumption places stress on the natural processes that renew some resources and depletes those resources that can not be renewed
  • Decisions about new research and technology, such as those related to energy issues, involve assessment of alternatives, risks, costs, and benefits. Students should understand the costs and trade-offs of various decisions

Content List in Biofuels: Investigating Ethanol Production and Combustion (Developed by SEPUP) is as follows:

Quantity Description
1 Teacher’s Manual with MSDS
28 Student Worksheets and Guides
12 30-mL graduated cups
6 Glass fuel burners
6 Pieces of aluminum foil
6 180-mL plastic bottles with caps
6 15-mL dropper bottles with bromthymol blue solution (BTB)
6 15-mL dropper bottles of 0.05 M sodium hydroxide (NaOH)
3 45-cm pieces of clear plastic tubing
2 LAB-AIDS® Condensers
2 1-holed #3 rubber stoppers (for condensers)
2 2-holed #7 rubber stoppers (for flasks)
2 plastic funnels
1 50-mL graduated cylinder with base
1 240-mL bottle of ethanol
1 240-mL bottle of kerosene
1 Transparency 1: Energy Results for Ethanol and Kerosene
1 Transparency 2: Combustion Equations
1 Transparency 3: Hydrocarbon Combustion
Number of students
Number of groups
Maximum 6 groups per period

To complete this kit requires at least part of one ~50-minute class period for set-up, class time for observations and note taking for the several days of fermentation, one period for distillation, and a final period for small group investigations.

Title Item # Price Quantity
Biofuels: Investigating Ethanol Production and Combustion (Developed by SEPUP) 39S $199.95
Biofuels: Investigating Ethanol Production and Combustion EXPAND-A-KIT 39SEL $17.35