Kenneth Gautreaux | 9/18/2009 10:34:50 PM
News Release Distributed 09/18/09
To help celebrate National 4-H Week, which is Oct. 4-10, Louisiana 4-H members will join millions of other 4-H’ers across the nation in participating in a science and technology project. They will make ethanol, one of the most common biofuels in the country.
“Every parish will receive at least one Biofuel Blast experimental kit,” said David Boldt, state 4-H science and technology coordinator. “The kit provides all of the components and instructions for conducting the experiment and will be the same kit used across the country.”
In addition to the experiment during 4-H week, the Louisiana 4-H’ers will be continuing with experiments throughout the year on making biofuel, Boldt said.
“Because of this year’s focus on biofuels, we are going to expand the lesson and have students throughout the year make biodiesel. This biodiesel will actually be used to power AgCenter equipment,” Boldt said.
To make ethanol, the students must break down the sugars in corn syrup by adding yeast. The chemical reaction will produce ethanol along with carbon dioxide. The lesson will also expose students to other possible biofuel ingredients that grow in Louisiana including sugarcane and soybeans.
“This experiment is an example of how 4-H is focusing on science, engineering and technology. 4-H activities can provide assistance to schools in these areas and improve the educational experiences for those participants,” said Mark Tassin, director of the LSU AgCenter’s 4-H and youth development program.
If a club or school is interested in obtaining an experimental kit, it can be ordered by visiting www.4-H.org/NYSD. The cost of the kit is $20. The kit provides enough material for five students to work independently or 15 students to work in small groups.
If anyone is interested in starting a 4-H club in a school or town or becoming a volunteer leader, contact your local parish LSU AgCenter extension office or go to www.lsuagcenter.com/4h.
In Louisiana, more than 275,000 students participate in 4-H activities each year. The youth program is administered through the LSU AgCenter and has clubs located in all 64 parishes. Nationally, approximately 6 million young people take part in 4-H.