ISEN's initial undergraduate course, ISEN 210, culminated with team project reports. Below please enjoy the variety of topics presented by the students in this Spring 2009 class:
Chris Andes, Victor Fimbres, Paulina Lopez
Society has become well aware that crude oil causes environmental harm. Thus people have sought out alternatives for petroleum based fuels. Oil extracted from algae has become a viable option. Algae can grow almost anywhere and are relatively easy to grow. There are, however inherent limits to growth, so interested companies have invented differing techniques and technologies in order to maximize growth and energy efficiency.
David Evitt, Julia Gabel, Robin Johnson
Ethanol is often talked about as a step towards energy independence and green house gas (GHG) reduction. This paper looks at issues relevant to biomass energy and ethanol in general, issues specific to ethanol produced from corn, sugarcane, and biomass cellulose, and evaluates the prospect of significantly reducing US petroleum use and green house gas emissions.
The world is in an energy crisis. This paper discusses efforts to reduce energy consumption in Evanston or a similar city starting in the home and extending to the community. Focusing on an urban area is important because passing legislation at a larger scale is more difficult. Greening starts within individual residences where homeowners can proactively decrease household consumption by making changes to daily habits and updating energy hogging devices. The next step is to analyze the efficiency of the home in general and look for improvements to be made with windows, insulation and the roof. All of these ideas can be applied to commercial buildings as well. In terms of the city of Evanston itself, a lot of energy is used to maintain manicured lawns and to collect garbage. In addition, the city should be encouraging its residents to abandon using their automobiles so frequently through reducing car use and increasing pedestrian alternatives. The stated suggestions have the potential to decrease the energy usage of Evanston.
James Cascarano, Ryan Sanders, Evan Dickerson-Rusan
As the demand for sustainable energy increases, so too will the demand for people educated in how to implement systems to harness sustainable energy. The earlier we educate the students of today about new energy alternatives, and how to implement them, the better off our society will be in the future. With a brief explanation of unsustainable fuels, such as natural gas, coal, and oil, and an introduction to the sustainable alternatives available, such as wind, solar, and hydro power, we hope to give students the basic knowledge to get excited about helping to build a more sustainable future.
Alexandra Sifferlin, Elan Siedband, Katherine Perry and Zachary Ratner
Electric automobiles have incredible potential. The technology at the foundation of electric automobiles is strong. Automakers have manufactured both PHEVs and BEVs and have proved they can build effective, efficient cars with the current, existing technology. The roadblock many manufacturers have encountered is cost. With battery technology still very expensive, technological advances will be needed for electric automobiles to be affordable to the masses. Additionally, in order for electric vehicles to serve as a viable option for consumers, progress in reference to grid and charging infrastructure must occur. Car owners will want cheap, accessible electricity and easily rechargeable vehicles. Few drivers will demonstrate a willingness to wait even twenty minutes to recharge their electric car when they can gas-up in less than five. Better Place has offered one possible solution to this problem, but in order for electric vehicles to become truly viable, the infrastructure requires significantly greater innovation.
Alessio Manti, Brian Rosenthal, Benjamin Singer
A student of energy policy encounters a multitude of possibilities in the realm of greenhouse gas regulation. From global accords to continental compacts to municipal initiatives, it seems as if everything has been tried and nothing is working perfectly. Having sensed this confusion, the authors of this paper set forth to synthesize a representative group of sources, drawing on literature provided by governments, economists, industry lobby groups and traditional news sources.
Below please find several project reports prepared by students who are advised by Professor Neal Blair, McCormick Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Christina Bernardo & Dr. Neal Blair, Faculty Advisor
The city of Evanston has set a goal to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 13% by the year 2012. The Evanston Climate Action Plan has been formed as a means to reach this goal, analyzing the city’s carbons emission sources and suggesting possible actions for emission reductions. In order to fully understand Evanston’s carbon budget and take further action towards ECAP’s reduction goals, we are investigating the role of trees in the city’s carbon cycle.
Zachary Cizon, Jessica Kunke, Elan Siedband, Kyle Simonson
Various offshore wind projects in the Great Lakes have been proposed and studied. However, there is no precedent for a completed offshore project in the Great Lakes. In this report, we present research on current methods used to propose and initiate such a project. This report attempts to answer important questions such as: • What is the first step? • What authorities are involved, at what points in the process, and what are their tasks? • What agencies and regulating bodies are involved? • Is there a definite set of procedures to follow? • Who takes leadership of the project throughout its development?