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Energy and Biochemical Reactions

Some chemical reactions release energy (exothermic), some reactions consume energy (endothermic).

Atoms Practice
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Practice Energy and Biochemical Reactions
Estimated3 minsto complete
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From Poo To You
teacher Contributed

From Poo To You


Oceanic Biofuel

Student Exploration

Many people are concerned about the United States depending on "foreign oil" or about burning fossil fuels in general. The concerns about burning fossil fuels stem from the fact that the carbon contained in these fuels has been isolated from the atmosphere for millions of years. When we burn fossil fuel the carbon combines with oxygen (02) and carbon dioxide (C02) is released and enters the Carbon Cycle. The increased C02 in the cycle changes the overall balance of the system with wide ranging effects for all organisms. But what if we could bypass this fossil part? What if we could go straight to the source and pull carbon from the atmosphere, turn it into fuel, and then release it back into the atmosphere? In theory we would be using carbon already in the system and not adding additional carbon. Scientists at NASA thought about this problem and came up with an elegant solution.

Extension Investigation

  1. What benefits do scientists gain by using fresh water in the membrane enclosures when the whole apparatus is in salt water?
  2. What additional benefits does the OMEGA system have besides creating non-fossil fuel?
  3. How could OMEGA help national security?

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