Jaclyn Rambarran, 2016, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
This summer I began to model the carbon fluxes involved in the growth and harvesting of woody biomass in the Southeast, specifically in Mississippi and Alabama. This work is part of a larger project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy that seeks to assess the sustainability of a first-of-its-kind process that co-produces clean transportation fuels and electricity. This process results in low carbon emissions through the co-processing of biomass and coal, and the capturing of byproduct CO+ for underground storage. I worked primarily with a model of stand growth of a tree species abundant in this region. I was able to use this model in conjunction with the development of my own model in Excel, which can account for the aboveground carbon stock remaining in a stand of this species over a rotation period of 25 years, for different management practices. Through this work, I learned how to develop more advanced Excel workbooks that utilize Visual Basic macros. Although the specific branch of this research is not directly related to my major, the overall project is. The skills I gained in the early stages of development of this model have already proven invaluable, and I am considering eventually working in sustainable energy technologies.