Final Paper Fall 2021
Length: 10 pages minimum, no maximum length
APA format
Many analysts, even the CEO of Shell oil, expect that renewable energy, largely from wind turbines and solar panels, will make up roughly 75% of all energy production. Filling the remaining 25% gap is the focus of much discussion. Some believe that large battery installations can provide electricity on demand to fill up to 15% of this gap. What about the remaining 10%?
The topic of this term paper is: Can power generated from two currently wasted and utterly unavoidable potential energy sources provide the missing 10%, or even more?
Specifically focus on the following two unavoidable potential sources of energy:
First, methane generated from human sewage, an unavoidable source of ocean destroying pollution.
Second, methane leaking out of abandoned coal mines, and abandoned oil wells.
These are sources of pollution and fossil fuel that we are stuck with no matter how much we change our behavior to try to be socially responsible and environmentally friendly.
You should try to figure out what percentage of the 10% gap they can fill. You should also add in the methane leaking out of currently active coal mines and oil wells. Not only are they pouring out methane right now, they will in the not too distant future be abandoned, but still pouring out methane! You must focus on these sources of energy—human sewage, and leaking methane from abandoned (and current) coal mines and oil wells. If you want to add another source of leaking methane, such as landfills, please discuss it with the Teaching Assistants or Prof. Bell before including it.
This is the only topic permitted for the term paper. A paper on any other topic will not be counted and the grade for the course will be INC.
You may focus on any aspect of the topic that interests you: current major companies or minor ones devoted to these topics (any such company, anywhere in the world); transformations of the major oil companies, or waste water treatment companies, into renewable energy companies that focus on these topics; transformations of other types of companies, such as waste management companies, into renewable energy companies that focus on these topics; start-ups that could conceivably replace the fossil fuel giants by focusing on these issues; etc.
Structure of the paper:
After an initial introduction, in the first part of your paper you should discuss the drivers of the renewable energy investment story that we have reviewed in class, and any others that you think are significant. We have discussed, or will discuss, in class the following drivers. Each should be discussed under an individual caption:
–global warming (also called climate change);
–pollution and its role in pushing investment into renewable energy;
–comparative costs of renewable and fossil fuel technologies;
–the amount of money likely to be in play;
–government regulations—national, state/regional, or municipal and international agreements, such as that of Cop 21–including taxes and subsidies which may favor (or disadvantage) investment in renewable energy;
–the element of belief, sometimes called dreams, in major investment shifts;
–and the potential role of millions of electric car owners as a lobbying force to shift the world into a re-thinking of energy and pollution.
In the next part of your paper, you should explain the technologies that have been used (for these human waste and leaking methane issues), and whether or not they have wide application throughout the world. Make sure that you discuss the costs of these technologies and whether or not they have a cost advantage over other renewable energy technologies. Discuss whether the cost advantage or disadvantage makes any difference, given the catastrophic consequences of sewage pollution and methane leaks. You can then continue in more depth on that topic or explain why you think some other system (e.g., nuclear) or some other technology (e.g., a massive improvement in batteries) will disrupt the energy industry and be the basis for closing the gap in renewable energy.
You should conclude your paper with a recommendation (to a major company or a big investor) on whether to invest or not in the industry/company that is the focus of your paper.
Your paper must be fully documented, as discussed in class. Papers without documentation will receive no grade and the course grade will be INC.
Under no circumstances should you infringe the copyright on published material. Setting aside all ethical issues, it is now fully detectable using the internet.