Charlotte Conner, 2014, Geosciences
This summer I was an intern for the Energy Systems Analysis Group (ESAG), a research unit of the Princeton Environmental Institute. I worked primarily on their project on possible energy conversion facilities that use the Fischer-Tropsch process to create synthetic fuel and electricity from coal and biomass. Fischer-Tropsch synthesis can be low-carbon, carbon-neutral, or even negative-carbon by adding biomass as a percentage of the inputs and/or by using carbon capture and sequestration technology. As an intern, I was charged with the upkeep of the master Excel spreadsheet that housed the cost components, emissions information, and fuel and electricity outputs of each hypothetical facility. I wrote and interpreted the Visual Basic code that was used to determine the economic properties of the facilities. I also used the Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation Model (GREET), created by the Argonne National Laboratory to update ESAG’s emissions data for different fuel creation and transportation scenarios. Not only did I learn a lot about synthetic fuel creation, I also improved my knowledge of Excel and programming skills. This internship increased my interest in the methods of making clean fossil fuels both environmentally and economically friendly.