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Onion Juice, Poop, and Other Surprising Sources of Alternative Energy
Onion Juice, Poop, and Other Surprising Sources of Alternative Energy
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Fact Finders

Onion Juice, Poop, and Other Surprising Sources of Alternative Energy

We need energy to power our computers and run our cars. But who would have thought that we could use poop for power or that microbes could ooze oil? Plug your nose, and get ready to dig into some amazing new sources of energy.

PublisherCapstone Press
BrandFact Finders
Age Level8-10 Years
Reading LevelGrades 3-4
SubjectScience & Nature
Trim Size7 3/4 x 8 3/4
Page Count32



Series Made Simple; School Library Journal - John Peters

"While gleefully catering to readers who relish references to “snot rockets” and the “living layer of slime” on everyone’s teeth, these informative guides also explain relevant chemical processes, medical rationales, and ecological functions in reasonably specific detail." - Series Made Simple; School Library Journal

November 1, 2010

Vegbooks Blog - Carolyn M. Mullin

"If Deformed Frogs sounded pretty bad, get ready for Onion Juice, Poop, and Other Surprising Sources of Alternative Energy. Repugnant as it may be, these energy sources reel kids into learning about our global reliance on soon-to-be-dried-up fossil fuels and the numerous alternatives that are either on the market or currently under development. Staunch vegetarians will likely be appalled by the first two “solutions”: fecal matter from factory-farmed cattle and pigs. Their excretions are collected in “digesters” or large holding tanks (similar to the manure lagoons we may be more familiar with), where the temperature is raised high enough so that bacteria can eat their fill and, in turn, produce methane gas. The book clearly depicts factory sheds and pigs in barren pens. I suppose it’s a good thing they’re not perpetuating the red barn, grassy pasture myth. On the flipside, there is a large sidebar on how unstinky this whole process is, with the author stating that the smell disappears once converted to gas. But of course it’s going to be stinky! It’s concentrated poop! I don’t think any attempt at explaining away (read: the tanks are covered) or minimizing the impact of such an aroma will sit well with the communities that endure such odorous pollution on a daily basis. Diatribe over. I was much happier and at ease with seeing human poop digesters utilized by families in India or in Vancouver’s waste treatment facilities. Other neat profiled solutions included using food scraps from onion farms and other locales, with the same break-down by bacteria in the farm animal scenario. Diatribe not over. I forgot to mention that the text speaks of scientists who are looking to make biodiesel through a mixture of animal fat (?!$#@), pine tree oil and methanol and others who are harvesting the innards of termites to assess their success in turning plant cellulose into energy. Really, this was a mixed bag of information and gut reactions for me. But in my humble opinion, it is good to be in the know of what’s in the works and where we’re heading. I would have loved to see more emphasis made on the self-sustaining solutions for energy, like that of the Indian home digesters, or even solar power." - Vegbooks Blog

December 22, 2010


Library Media Connection - Brenda Rogers

"STARRED REVIEW! Do not read these books during your lunch break! Despite the completely disgusting content of these books, it’s hard to put them down because they’re brimming with addictively fascinating information. Tweens and adults alike will be intrigued by the three pounds of bacteria wriggling around in their intestines and how scientists are creating renewable energy from dung. After passing these books around to folks of all ages, many wanted to borrow them! These well-planned books will make memorable introductions to science units, especially those on alternative energy, microorganisms, and digestion. The high interest, low-mid readability is perfect for reluctant readers, especially pre-teen and teen boys who like science. These books will appeal to that hard-to-reach group of boys. Bibliography. Glossary. Websites. Table of Contents. Index. Highly Recommended." - Library Media Connection

March 1, 2011


Santa Monica Public Library

August 1, 2012

Mark Weakland

Mark Weakland

Mark Weakland wears many hats. As an author, he's written books for teachers, including Super Core!: Turbocharging Your Basal Reading Program with More Reading, Writing, and Word Work, published by the International Reading Association. His book topics for children include sports, bacteria, comets, and poetry. Mark's also a reading specialist. He teaches kindergarten children, third graders, parents, and teachers. As a musician and songwriter, Mark sings, plays percussion, and strums the guitar. Many of his songs, including "I Sure Love Pancakes" and "The Dooflicky Machine," have won national awards and contests. Mark lives in Western Pennsylvania.

Go to the Author’s Page →