Biomass: Biogas Generator

This Biomass: Biogas Generator lesson plan also includes:

It's a gas. Middle schoolers build a biogas generator following the directions in this resource. After a few days of observation, they demonstrate that the gas given off by the decomposing manure is flammable. The activity concludes as class members consider the implications for energy production.

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Instructional Ideas
  • Measure the mass of the bottle with the manure before and after the gas is created to determine any loss
  • Develop the chemical equation that explains what is happening
  • Preview the scene from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome of the methane-generating pit to determine if appropriate for your class
Classroom Considerations
  • Some class members may object to handling the manure
  • Store the biogas generator under a vent hood
  • Make one generator for the class as a demonstration
  • A simple experiment that does not require a lot of expensive lab equipment
  • The resource contains background information about the natural formation of methane
  • The generator takes some time to produce enough methane to show it is flammable
  • Safety measures are not outlined in the resource