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Practical biofuel activities

The activities are provided to engage young people with the science and issues surrounding bioenergy and biofuels. The topics cover a range of areas in science and technology including: plant science, microbiology and chemistry.

They are provided inline with our strategic priorities which include bioenergy and industrial biotechnology.

Find the activity you are looking for from this content list:

Contents and introduction
Current biofuel activities
Advanced biofuel activities
Dry activities
Summary and links
General presentation

Who should download these activities?

Researchers – To communicate and engage young people with the scientific principles and research in the fields of bioenergy and biofuels through practical activities.

Teachers – Many of the activities are suggested by exam boards to cover the knowledge, understanding or practical skills content required for GCSE, A-level or Higher examinations.

What is in the practical guide?

  • Background information on the science involved in the field of bioenergy and biofuels
  • Further information about current research
  • Practical activities:
    • Instructions
    • Learning objectives
    • Keywords
    • Suitable age ranges
    • Suggested prior knowledge
    • Approximate time needed
    • Extension activities
    • Curriculum links
  • Health and safety guidance
  • Supporting activities and resources
  • Supporting PowerPoint presentations
  • Further reading and weblinks


The first edition of the Biofuel kit. Image: BBSRC

Please contact us with any questions or feedback (contact information below).

Biofuel kits

Our free biofuel kits have been really popular and we don't have any left at present. If you would still like a kit please send us your details and a brief description of your bioenergy outreach and engagement activities to the contact below and we will send one out to you when we can.


Contents and introduction (PDF 564KB)

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Current biofuels

The activities found in this resource are:

  • Biogas
    Activity 1A – Biogas generator
  • Oil and Biodiesel
    Activity 1B – Oil extraction
    Activity 1C – Oil viscosity
    Activity 1D – Biodiesel production
  • Bioethanol
    Activity 1E – Extracting sugar from sugar beet
    Activity 1F – Carbohydrate testing
    Activity 1G – Yeast fermentation
Current biofuel activities (PDF 901KB)

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Advanced biofuels

The activities found in this resource are:

  • Lignocellulosic bioethanol
    Activity 2A – Plant material testing
    Activity 2B – Hydrolysis of biofuel feedstocks
    Activity 2C – Fermentation of lignocelluloses
  • Bacterial Biofuels
    Activity 2D – Bacterial cellulase
    Activity 2E – Cellulase enzyme activity
  • Algal Biofuels
    Activity 3A – Culturing algae
    Activity 3B – Algal photosynthesis
    Activity 3C – Algae chromatography
Advanced biofuels activities (PDF 1023KB)

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Dry activities

The activities found in this resource are:

  • Recognition activities
    Activity 4A – Making biofuel molecules
    Activity 4B – Biofuel Feedstocks
  • Puzzles
    Activity 4C – Bioenergy Crosswords
    Activity 4D – Bioenergy Wordsearches
    Activity 4E – Bioenergy sentence loops
Dry activities (PDF 2.60MB)

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Summary and links

The contents found in this resource are:

  • Glossary
  • Key words
  • Further reading
  • Web links
  • Summarised curriculum links
  • Acknowledgments
Summary and links (PDF 816KB)

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General presentation

Powering the Future: Biofuels (PDF 2.57MB)

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These links are restricted to science subjects and refer to schemes of work or qualifications currently offered in the UK.


We wish to thank all the contributing researchers involved, who carried out the activities at science events and in schools as well as providing help and support in developing this guide, in particular Gary Wortley at the Institute of Food Research for equipment and technical support, Alison Smith for the algal chromatography activities and Jen Bromley for developing the lignocellulosic ethanol activities.

Thanks also go to North Walsham High School, Acle High School and the East Norfolk Triple Science Network and their pupils for hosting these activities and to work experience pupils Lucy Handford and Joseph McKenzie for refining protocols.

The resource builds on the work of Science and Plants for Schools (SAPS), the Society of General Microbiology (SGM) and National Centre for Biotechnology Education (NCBE) and thanks go respectively to Daniel Jenkins, Dariel Burdass and Dean Madden for their input.


These images are protected by copyright law and may be used with acknowledgement.

£125M announced by Business Secretary Vince Cable for the next generation of scientists to drive the economy of the future

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