Turning Wastewater into Energy: Lesson Plan

The industrial biotechnology company Novozymes has developed a groundbreaking biogas plant that turns wastewater from its Franklinton plant into energy to help power the plant.

UNC-TV Media

Alignment to NC Essential Standards

  • 8.L.2.1 — Life Science/Structure and Function of Living Organisms/Understand how biotechnology is used to affect living organisms/Summarize aspects of biotechnology.
  • EEn.2.8.1 — Environmental Science/Earth Systems, Structures and Processes/Evaluate human behaviors in terms of how likely they are to ensure the ability to live sustainably on Earth/Evaluate energy technologies for use in North Carolina.      

Engage

Lab groups or partners in the class can build their own biogas generators by following these instructions.

Explore

Ask students about rotting vegetables or fruit in their own home, and if they had considered the living organisms involved, such as bacteria and mold.

Explain

Extend

Additional Links:

Evaluate

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is the purpose of the three-story tank outside the Novozymes plant in Franklinton?
  2. Define “biogas.” What are some sources of biogas?
  3. Describe the process that transforms wastewater into energy inside the Novozymes plant tank.
  4. According to the video, why is it important to keep “little creatures inside the giant tank” happy? 
  5. Biogas is a potential source of renewable energy. Can you think of another environmental issue that the production and use of biogas might address?