Unformatted text preview: Fuels Concept Decision Matrix Group B4-B
Mikaela Elkins, Taylor Mann, Adam Sing, Jacob Vitko Crude Oil:
Technical Feasibility- Crude oil is commercially feasible, meaning it is produced and sold to
Economic Viability- Production of oil is past its maximum. At a steady or increasing demand,
decreasing the supply of crude oil will cause prices to increase, affecting the U.S. economy.
Capacity/Sustainability- Crude oil is a fossil fuel and is non-renewable. The U.S has reserves of
oil and in 2010, the U.S. had 25.2 billion barrels of proved reserves.
Vulnerability/Stability- With the production and transportation of oil, we are vulnerable to
natural disasters that could ruin potential drilling sites or spills can occur and harm animals and
Environmental Impact- Consumption of fossil fuels releases CO2 and pollutants in the air. It
can be argued that the release of CO2 and pollutants cause or have an impact on global warming.
Drilling and things like spills also destroy local ecosystems.
Geo-Sociopolitical Impact- Relations with allies may be compromised in order to remain
friendly with oil suppliers, causing conflict and the possibility of terrorism and war.
Technical Feasibility- Ethanol is commercially feasible.
Economic Viability- Production of ethanol from corn seems economically unviable; the U.S.
spends $2 billion a year on monitoring fertilizer runoff and pollution and $8 billion for
environmental damages from the use of fertilizers and pesticides.
Capacity/Sustainability- The U.S. has the capacity of about 14.7 billion gallons of ethanol per
year, so it should be sustainable.
Vulnerability/Stability- Growing corn requires the highest amount of fertilizer and an increase
of demand would create the need for more land for crops.
Environmental Impact- Being that demand of corn will increase, this requires a need for
marginal land (often has poor soil or other undesirable characteristics) which will then require
the need for more fertilizer. That fertilizer is a major contribution to soil erosion.
Geo-Sociopolitical Impact- The argument of food vs. fuel can be made when the need for corn
(for energy) is increasing. A population would argue that we need corn for food more than we do
Bio-diesel (from soybeans):
Technical Feasibility- Biodiesel is lab/pilot feasible, which means it is functional in a lab
environment, but has not been tested out in full-scale implementation.
Economic Viability- Production of biodiesel from soybeans is economically feasible depending
on whether plant capacity, price of feedstock oil, and yields of biodiesel can be properly
managed. Capacity/Sustainability- The United States produces 100,000 tons of soybeans per year,
however; its yield for biodiesel is inferior to that of other alternative fuels. This means that the
ratio between the amount of soybeans produced to the amount of biodiesel that can be
manufactured is not efficient.
Vulnerability/Stability- Soybean plants are vulnerable to droughts and plant-based diseases,
which can be disastrous for fields upon occurrence. An increase of demand for the biodiesel
would also increase the demand for cropland.
Environmental Impact- Nitrous oxide released from the fertilizer from soybean production
would produce more greenhouse gases than fossil fuels at large scale. Also increase in the need
for cropland would increase the amount of marginal land and soil erosion in the long run.
Geo-Sociopolitical Impact- There is an issue over use of soybeans as food or a fuel. It goes
between using the United States capacity for soybean production as either a source of food
source of fuel.
Bio-diesel (from algae):
Technical Feasibility- Biodiesel from algae is lab and pilot feasible. It can be used in a lab and
small scale, but it does not make a lot of sense to use on a large scale at this point in time.
Economic Viability- Biodiesel from algae is economically feasible based on plant capacity,
means of obtaining oil, and yields of biodiesel.
Capacity/Sustainability- Since algae is already being grown in lakes and ponds, it makes sense
to use it as a source of fuel. Especially since it can be used to clean water if grown in dirty lakes
or ponds. Therefore, it is sustainable and feasible.
Vulnerability/Stability- The process for growing algae for the production of biodiesel is
difficult. The water should be a specific temperature in order to yield maximum of oil for
production. Also, there has been little testing of biodiesel in cars. So it is vulnerable.
Environmental Impact- The growing of the algae for the production of biodiesel would be good
for the environment because it would put more oxygen into the air. Thus, bettering the
Geo-Sociopolitical Impact- The main argument for the use of algae is food or fuel. Not food for
humans, but disrupting the ecosystem within a pond or a lake. There are a lot of creatures that
depend on algae for nutrients.
Technical Feasibility- Hydrogen is commercially feasible. There are hydrogen stations and
FCV’s (fuel-cell vehicles) that have been put out in the open market.
Economic Viability- Hydrogen as an alternative fuel is not economically feasible yet. The cost
to implement hydrogen stations and create new pipelines nationwide would be excessive.
Capacity/Sustainability- Compared to a typical gasoline engine, which is less than 20%
efficient in converting the chemical energy in gasoline to motive power, hydrogen-based vehicles are 40-60% efficient in fuel consumption. However the majority of hydrogen production
requires fossil fuels, which is a nonrenewable resource that will eventually deplete.
Vulnerability/Stability- Drilling can destroy landscapes as 96% of hydrogen comes from fossil
fuels and production costs are excessive.
Environmental Impact- There is no CO2 generated from the burning of hydrogen in a fuel cell.
The only product that is created is water
Geo-Sociopolitical Impact- To produce hydrogen, it uses up fossil fuels. But it is the least
expensive alternative fuel.
Synthetic Fuel From Coal:
Technical Feasibility- Synthetic fuel is commercially feasible. It is a known technology and has
refineries for the coal liquefaction process
Economic Viability- Production of synthetic fuel would consume 27% of the US coal
production. The cost of synthetic fuel would be at $35 per barrel to consumers
Capacity/Sustainability- If the industry produced 2 million barrels of synthetic fuel per day,
then it would consume roughly 300 million tons of coal per year
Vulnerability/Stability- The process of making synthetic fuel through coal liquefaction is long,
and sometimes results in dry coal
Environmental Impact- Production of fuel with coal can lead to released smoke, smog, carbon
dioxide, SO2 and can be harmful to the ozone
Geo-Sociopolitical Impact- The production of synthetic fuel accounts for 28% of Africa’s fuel
needs. As of 2004, there were 55 synthetic coal plants in the US
Natural Gas (CNG):
Technical Feasibility- Natural gas is commercially feasible. It is a known source of fuel and has
companies that try to extract it.
Economic Viability- The cost of natural gas is not yet permanent, but is it assumed to be about
30-50% less than the traditional source of fuel.
Capacity/Sustainability- Natural gas is a nonrenewable source. There is still a large amount of
it under the earth’s surface, but it is not renewable. Thus, it is not a sustainable source of energy.
Vulnerability/Stability- Drilling for natural gas can destroy landscapes and the land around the
drilling site. Fracking is known to destroy the sources of water that surround the drilling site and
make the water toxic and flammable.
Environmental Impact- The burning of natural gas is better than the burning of coal because it
does not release as many chemicals into the air. But it still has the potential of destroy the land
Geo-Sociopolitical Impact- The main issue surrounding natural gas is the extraction process.
Fracking has destroyed many water sources and completely destroys landscapes. Another argument is the fact that the use of natural gas is not sustainable because it is not a renewable
source of energy. ...
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- Fall '16
- The Land