Ford PAS Alternative Fuels Module

Principal Investigators

  • Dr. Mark Schumack, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering
    University of Detroit Mercy

Co-Principal Investigators

  • Daniel Maggio, Pre-College Engineering Programs
    University of Detroit Mercy


  • Dr. Stokes Baker, Dept. of Biology
    University of Detroit Mercy
  • Dr. James Graves, Dept. of Biology
    University of Detroit Mercy
  • Dr. Mark Benvenuto, Dept. of Chemistry
    University of Detroit Mercy
  • Dr. Arthur Haman, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering
    University of Detroit Mercy

Project Dates:

11/22/06 to 08/31/09

Project year: Year 3

MIOH-UTC Project Identifier: K-12 -1; Projects 1, 2, 3, and 4

Focus Area:

  • Educational: Alternative Fuels


Proposal to develop an automotive alternative fuels module: “Fueling the Car of Tomorrow”

Teaching Modules available at "Ford PAS at the University of Detroit Mercy"

We propose to write a new module (number 13) for Course 4 – Designing for Tomorrow – that will extend the energy concepts developed in Module 12 to provide insights into alternative automotive fuels.  The module will cover fundamentals of propulsion systems, fuel origination and production, performance characteristics of alternative fuels, energy flow analysis, technological issues, and sustainability of the alternatives.

The module will consist of six activities covering the topics listed below.

Instructional materials that conform to the National Research Council’s National Science Content Standards will be created and field-tested. Activity will include introductory skill-building demonstrations, classroom discussion guides, analytical exercises, and hands-on inquiry investigations. Depending on the project, whole class, team, or individual homework assignments will be developed. Learning outcomes for each activity will be evaluated with appropriate assessment tools. All outcomes will be linked to the national education standards. In all there will be materials provided for 30 class sessions that match the Ford PAS Planning Calendar.

Contributors:  Mark Benvenuto (Chemistry), Stokes Baker (Biology), James Graves (Biology), Arthur Haman (Engineering and Science), and Mark Schumack (Mechanical Engineering).

  • Activity 1:    The End of Oil?
  • Activity 2:    Alternative Energy for Automobiles – Possibilities for the Future
  • Activity 3:    Fuel from Crops – Alcohols and Biodiesel
  • Activity 4:    Hydrogen – the silver Bullet?
  • Activity 5:    Natural Gas and Electricity
  • Activity 6:    Which Fuel is the Best?
Task:  Drive from New York, New York to Los Angeles, California.

Side by side comparison of alternatives: compare total cost, fuel economy, pollution, greenhouse gas production, technical feasibility, and renewability.

Total Budget: $110,990