A. Section: Topic and Description Creation -Nick
1. Main ideas: What is the main idea of you subsection? What areas of analysis will you engage with? What is the major point (thesis) of your section?
The main idea of this subsection is to identify the different alternative fuels. In this regard, the identified alternative fuels include natural gas, hydrogen, acetylene, methane, ethanol, biodiesel, micro fluid-associated fuels, fuel cells, biomass, solid oxide, and tallow esters. The main area of analysis is the creation of the above mentioned fuels. For instance, natural gas and methane can be utilized in the large scale generation of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, which can be in turn utilized to obtain diesel and gasoline fuels (Bae, & Kim, 2017). Micro fluid-associated fuels deal with the specific control and manipulation of fluids that are geometically restricted to a tiny, usually sub-millimeter, scale at which capillary penetration governs mass transport in the production of fuel. In particular, these fuels use microorganisms or enzymes to change chemical energy in fuel (normally alcohol carbohydrate) to electric power. The fuel cell mainly generates electricity without combustion. It achieves this by just converting chemical energy into electrical energy (i.e. electrochemical reaction).
Solid oxide fuel cells offer alternative ways to burn hydrogen or fossil fuels to produce power. In Solid Oxide Fuel cells (SOFCs), the anode and the cathode are created from permeable ceramic materials and the electrolyte comprises of a dense oxygen ion conducting ceramics (Ormerod, 2003). This enables the SOFCs to operate in very high temperatures, and to transform hydrocarbons internally hence allowing the utilization of natural gas or reformed diesel as fuel. Biomass can also be used to generate energy. Solid biomass like garbage and wood can be burned directly to generate heat. Furthermore, biomass can be changed into liquid biofuels like biodiesel and ethanol, which can in turn be burned for energy. Tallow, converted into esters such as methyl, ethyl, and butyl have the potential of generating diesel fuel. Additionally animal fats and vegetable oils when converted into esters can be utilized as fuels for compression ignition and engines.
The thesis of this section is as follows: understanding how the different alternative fuels are created is the key to increasing their adoption and utilization.
a. Technology: What technologies need to be described?
One of the technologies that need to be described is known as esterification. This is a chemical reaction that takes place between an acid (normally carboxylic acid) and alcohol (or compounds that have the hydroxyl group) where esters are obtained. Notably, the reaction occurs in environments that are acidic. Electrochemical reaction is also described. It refers to a process that is either caused or accompanied by the passage of an electric current and entailing in a majority of the cases the transfer of electrons between 2 substances-one liquid and the other solid (Ormerod, 2003). Fuel processing is described as well. This technology deals with the scientific and technological factors of changing fossil and renewable resources to clean energy. Anaerobic digestion is yet another technology and it entails generating methane rich biogas from wet biomass sources such as wastewater, manure, garden and kitchen waste, etc. Fast pyrolysis technology converts difficult-to-tackle biomass of dissimilar nature into a clean and consistent liquid, known as pyrolysis oil.
b. Ethics: How does the team’s ethical angle relate to your subtopic?
My team members and I are of the belief that since the use of traditional fuels has led to the degradation of our environment, their use is morally wrong. Therefore, the key to solving this ethical issue lies in using alternatives to fossil fuels (which in this case is the above mentioned alternative fuels).
c. Which areas of analysis will you engage with: social, cultural, economic, or political?
I will engage in the economic aspects of the subtopic. This is because the use alternative fuels bring many benefits to a country’s economy. For instance, these types of fuels are less costly to utilize not just in terms of the fuel itself but also in terms of a longer service life. This translates to savings for the long term. Alternatives also fuel the economy in that cars driven on diesel and hydrogen fuel cells are more economical with regard to fuel compared to an equivalent gasoline car. Last but not least, alternative fuels grow the economy by creating jobs in installation, manufacturing and more. I will also engage in the political aspects of the subtopics. This is because the political climate affects the adoption of alternative fuels. For instance, the industry of alternative fuels in the United States is facing numerous intricate questions, but they can be summarized into two major concerns: does a place still exist for low-carbon fuels in a country that has withdrawn from the Paris Climate Agreement? And, would alternative fuels be pertinent if there were fewer incentives from the government and fewer emissions decrease goals fueling the conversation forward? (Miller, 2013)
a. What evidence have you gathered that supports your section and the Team Thesis?
I have mainly gathered evidence that focuses on the creation of different alternative fuels. As such, my evidence comprises of several secondary sources (mainly article journals) that talk about alternative fuels and the process used in creating them. The alternative fuels these sources focus on mainly include the following: natural gas, methane, ethanol, acetylene, biodiesel, hydrogen, biomass, SOFCs, fuel cells, microfluidic fuel cells, and tallow esters
b. What evidence still needs to be gathered? What are the next steps of your research process?
I need to gather more evidence on the technologies associated with the above mentioned alternative fuels. This will further serve to create full understanding of how these fuels are created and thus be in a better position to make informed choices regarding their use. There is also the need to gather more evidence on the kinds of emissions that the alternative fuels generate. This is critical as it will allow me to make a comparison between the emissions of traditional fuels and those of alternative fuels and thus provide evidence-based proof as to whether alternative fuels are friendlier to the environment or not.
3. Connection to Thesis: How will your section support the Team Thesis?
My team thesis is as follows: “it is necessary for the United States and other nations to develop cheap, clean, and renewable alternative fuel technologies to reduce or eliminate the emission of climate changing greenhouse gases caused by current conventional sources.” With this in mind, this section will support the thesis by proving that alternative fuels are friendlier to the environment since they produce less harmful products compared to traditional fuels. The section will also demonstrate how alternative fuels are created and thus enable the reader to gain knowledge on the various techniques used to generate these types of fuels. Importantly, the reader will see that the techniques used are clean and do not degrade the environment. Therefore, it will become easier to convince people to adopt the usage of alternative fuels since they are cheap and clean, and help to mitigate the effects of climate change in the long run.
4. Relation to other subsections: What other sections does your section have a strong relationship to? How might this help you develop order and transition areas of your team course project?
In my opinion, my area has a strong relationship to the history of alternative fuels. I also feel that my subtopic is strongly related to the compliance section. I believe that these relationships help the reader to understand how alternative fuels solve the issue of global warming and why countries need to be compliant.
5. What sources will you be using in your section? List in APA format.
Bae, C., & Kim, J., (2017). Alternative fuels for internal combustion engines. Proceedings of
the Combustion Institute, 36(3), 3389–3413.
Miller, B. (2013). Assessing Opportunities for Alternative Fuel Distribution Programs.
Transportation Research Board.
Ormerod, R. M., (2003). Solid oxide fuel cells. Chemical Society Reviews, 32(1), 17–28.