Thursday, 24 April 2014

Research proposal


Research Topic:Energy
Chosen Area of Focus:
Depletion of fossil fuels and a search for alternative sources

Group members names:
a) Veena
b) Olivia
c) Jonathan
d) Sneha

1. Statement of problem (framing our research topic):
Our chosen area of focus is “Depletion of fossil fuels and a search for alternative sources”.  We have chosen this topic to make people more aware that we are running out of fossil fuels and eventually we will no longer be able to reply on them to power our economy, so that people may come up with better alternative energy sources. Fossil fuels are natural fuels such as coal or gas, formed in the geological past from the remains of living organisms.  Damage is done to the environment when we get the fossil fuels out of the ground and when we burn them as a fuel source. To deal with the threat of climate change, we have to reduce the emissions that we produce in ways like: finding ways to reduce the damage done by fossil fuels or find an alternative energy source. Use of fossil fuels has made possible the expansion of human population from 1 billion to 6.6 billion since 1820 till now. During the course of history, societies have built an extensive infrastructure which requires constant maintenance for its proper functioning. This adds the energy needs of the daily activities of industry, commerce and private life. When fossil fuels begin to deplete rapidly, it is difficult to judge how societies will manage, for dependance on fossil fuels has landed us in a trap. Historically, it has taken 40-50 years for a new energy source to increase from 1% to 10% of market share. To reach 50% has taken almost a century. We must now face this predicament and find ways to cope.

2. Research Objectives:
The objective of this research is to make people more aware about the depletion of fossil fuels in the US and we will no longer be able to rely on them to power our economy, so that people may come up with better alternative resources. It is also to make them understand how these fuels are depleting and how fossil fuels help us in our daily lives. We want to research on the problems that will occur if we really run out of fossil fuels and try to find an alternative way to get energy to replace fossil fuels. Without fossil fuels, it is hard to do our daily activities properly like cooking, driving,etc. Also the burning and processing of crude oil is believed to contribute to global warming due to emissions of CO2 gas, we need to come up with a greener alternative resource as well.

3. Literature Review (Brief summary of at least 3 sources that you have consulted with reference to your research topic)
1.What are the countries consuming the most fossil fuels?
2.What is the average cost of a barrel of oil?
3.How has inflation caused the cost of oil to increase?
4.How is oil formed?
5.What is natural gas?
6.Which country imports the most oil?
7.Where can oil be found?
8.How was oil found?

The top ten countries that consumes the most amount of oil are:
1. Unites States of America
2. China
3. Japan
4. India
5. Russia
6. Brazil
7. Germany
8. Saudi Arabia
9. South Korea
10. Canada

The price for a barrel of oil in 2010 is an average of $71.21 for the nominal price and $76.01 for inflation adjusted price. In 2011, the nominal price is an average of $87.04 and $90.08 for inflation adjusted price. The average nominal price in 2012 is $86.46 and for the inflation adjusted price, $87.68.

Oil and inflation are often being seen as being connected in a cause and effect relationship. Since oil is a major input in the economy and it is used for critical daily activities, the price of the end product will also increase if the price of oil increases because more money is needed to purchase the oil.

Oil is formed when dead animals or plants are accumulated at the bottom of oceans, land, riverbeds, etc. Over the years, layers and layers of sediment will form. As they become buried even deeper, heat and pressure will rise, transforming the layer into a dark and waxy substance called kerogen. Left alone, the kerogen molecules will actually crack and turn into either oil or gas depending on the substance.

Natural gas is a mixture of hydrocarbon, and it can either be found by itself or in association with oil. Natural gas is made up of a compound of hydrogen and carbon. Natural gas is also a fossil fuel as it comes from the remains of plants and animals. It is also one of the most highly used energy sources because it is combustible and burns more cleanly than other energy sources.

The top 10 countries that imports the most oil are:
1. United States of America
2. China
3. Japan
4. India
5. Germany
6. Netherlands
7. South Korea
8. France
9. Singapore
10. Italy

Oil is found in an underground rock formation, existing as tiny droplets trapped inside the open spaces called pores, inside the rock. They can also be found in the sea, under the seabed.

Oil was found when someone found it when the oil bubbled up to the surface. The oil would collect in low places in the Earth’s crust or float on top of the water in lakes or streams.

4. Proposed Hypotheses

Our current energy sources are depleting but new sources are found to replace the current ones.

5. Research Plan (Describe how you intend to design your research i.e. who/what you are going to research on, how many respondents, your study area/location etc)
We will be researching on why the fossil fuels are depleting and we will focus mainly on the current sources we have, the consumption of fossil fuels in different countries, who are the top consumers, how long can our current sources last and then we will be finding out what other types of energy we can use, those that do not pollute the Earth.

6. Methodology (Describe what methods you are using to collect data, where and how the data can be collected and analysed)

We will collect data from 2 sets of people. The first set will be from the students of SST, to see how much they know. Next, we will survey those working at the oil rigs, as they have first hand knowledge on this topic. Once we gather all these information, we can conclude that which age group knows more, which set of people knows more.

7. Research Schedule

e.g. Research Plan and Literature Review

e.g. Draft of oral interview and surveys









8. Overall assessment on feasibility and manageability of the research (justify why your research can be managed and results be achieved within the time-frame)
We will be able to achieve such a task if we put our minds together and plan ahead of time. We will ensure that all the work gets done every week, if not, we will put in extra time and effort to complete the assigned tasks.


Current sources
Consumption of fossil fuels
Top consumers
How long can current source last
Searching for other types of energy

Non polluting sources

Wednesday, 9 April 2014


7. Recommendations

One way we can help to reduce the usage of fossil fuels is our form of transport. We can use public transport instead of our own private vehicles. Using public transport will allow us to consume lesser amount of fossil fuels as compared to owning a car, bike, van, or any private vehicles each. This way we will be able to reduce the use of fuels and thus conserving it. Secondly, riding a bicycle or walking to our destinations is also definitely  much better than taking public transport or private vehicles. Riding a bicycle or walking does not require any fuels and is thus a very good way to conserve a huge amount of fossil fuels. We can also keep fit when cycling or walking and will thus kill two birds with one stone (keeping fit and conserving fossil fuels). Lastly, buying hybrid or electric cars should be taken into consideration if you really wish to get your own car. At least you will be able to save some fossil fuels if you get a hybrid or electric car.
To sum up our recommendations in the area of transportation, this are some ways we all can conserve fossil fuels:
  • Ride a bike or walk to your destination instead of using vehicles.
  • Avoid the use of our own vehicles and use public transport more often.
  • If you want to buy cars consider buying hybrid or electric cars.

Another way to reduce usage of fossil fuels is to reduce and reuse. Reduce the use of items that requires burning of fossil fuels will help to conserve it and at the same time help to prevent another huge problem in the world, global warming. One way would be to reduce the use of plastic bags. Plastic bags actually requires the burning of fossil fuels in its manufacturing process. Therefore reducing the use of plastic bags would be good to conserve fossil fuels and since smoke is emitted when the fossil fuels are burnt, reducing the use of plastic bags will lower the manufacturing rate and thus lowering the amount of smoke emitted, helping to reduce global warming. Reusing plastic bags will also make sure that we do not keep taking new plastic bags whenever we go shopping which will thus lead to lower manufacturing rate. Another way is to also reuse old cans. Making new cans take up much more fossil fuel than recycling old ones. Recycling will also help in conserving fossil fuels as they will not need to make another new can. Lastly, conserving electricity whenever possible is greatly encouraged so participating in Earth hour can also help in the conserving of fossil fuels. Lots of fossil fuels are burned all the time to generate electricity to our homes, so switch of electrical appliances whenever possible to help reduce the usage of fossil fuels.
These are the few ways we can help to conserve fossil fuels through reducing and reusing:
  • Reduce use of plastic bags as most plastic bags use fossil fuels in its manufacture
  • Reduce Reuse and Recycle. making new cans take up much more fossil fuels than recycling your old ones
  • Try conserving electricity whenever possible by switching off electrical appliances whenever possible. This will conserve the energy used to generate electricity this conserving fossil fuels

Using renewable energy is an alternative way to help conserve our fossil fuels. Renewable energy, as the name suggests can be renewed and thus we will not have to worry about it running out. We can keep using it over and over again and it will last us for a very long time. Some types of renewable energy are: Biomass, Water, Geothermal, Wind and Solar.
Types of alternative sources that can be taken into consideration are:
  • Biomass
  • Water
  • Geothermal
  • Wind
  • Solar

One of the more popular ways is to raise awareness by giving educational talks to public and in schools. This way we will be able to educate them and make them realise how important it is to conserve fossil fuels right now. It will raise their awareness in an important problem that the world is currently facing. Through talks, our recommendations to conserve fossil fuels will be able to be heard by them and hopefully they will do their best to help.
To summarise, one way to conserve energy is:
  • Give talks in schools and the public to educate them.


6. Conclusion

To sum it up, we can conclude that fossil fuels is important to us and we need it as it is part of our daily life. Some things will not be possible if not for the availability of fossil fuels. Mankind will be in trouble if our fossil fuels were to run out and we have no other form of alternative sources that can take the place of fossil fuels. Hence, we have to try to raise awareness of conserving energy.

Discussion Of Findings

4. Discussion of findings

From our findings, we can conclude that majority know or at least somewhat know about oil and gas. This may be because of what they were taught in school or what they read in books or even online. 80% of the students know of some renewable energy while the other 20% do not.  However 84% do not really know which country actually consumes the most fossil fuels. They are also unsure which fossil fuels is the most efficient as only 90% know which is the most efficient fossil fuel. When we ask them which countries they think consumed the most power, 51% of them did not know.

When open ended questions were asked, they gave their opinions which were mostly true and accurate. They stated what they thought was a good method to help save the world and also how they actually thought oil was formed.

That is our analysis on our survey and from our research that we did, we can conclude that the amount of oil being consumed this day is getting increasing exponentially and that we must think of ways and come up with alternative sources before we run out of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are important to us as it is the main source of energy and is important in our life.

Without fossil fuels, we would not have any electricity. Although we have some alternative ways to generate electricity, each country does have a disadvantage if they use some of these methods.
The burning of coal and oil have saved inestimable amounts of time and labor while substantially raising living standards around the world. Although the use of fossil fuels may seem beneficial to our lives, this act is playing a role on global warming and it is said to be dangerous for the future.
According to Rodman D. Griffin, these environmental pollution impact on human beings because its particles of the fossil fuel on the air cause negative health effects when inhaled by people. These health effects include premature death, acute respiratory illness, aggravated asthma, chronic bronchitis and decreased lung function. So, the poor, undernourished, very young and very old, and people with preexisting respiratory disease and other ill health, are more at risk.

Data Anysis

3. Data analysis

Question 1Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 9.32.45 pm.png


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Question 3Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 7.30.12 pm.png

Question 4
Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 8.46.56 am.png

Question 5

renewable energy.png

Question 6:
How is oil formed?
-Dinosaurs die and under the pressure of the ground and the duration of time they've been sitting there, they decay and form oil i'm not too sure sorry and then they drill real deep to find out if its there and suck it all up as a liquid. But they also have to refine it into separate oils by by putting it through a fractionating column.
-Crude oil is formed from dense forests which is put under enormous pressure, heated and finally left to rot for a few million years.
-When animals die, millions of years later their body decomposes and becomes oil.
-It is like formed after organic materials such as ancient animals and plants decay under high pressure and heat.
-Dead matter decomposes over time.
-Oil is formed through fossil fuels.
drilling into the ground
- Carbon cycle
-Natural occurring chemical formed by carbon and hydrogen atoms.
-Oil comes from the remains of tiny plants and animals (plankton) that died in ancient seas between 10 million and 600 million years ago. After the organisms died, they sank into the sand and mud at the bottom of the sea. Over the years, the organisms decayed in the sedimentary layers. In these layers, there was little or no oxygen present. So microorganisms broke the remains into carbon-rich compounds that formed organic layers. The organic material mixed with the sediments, forming fine-grained shale, or source rock. As new sedimentary layers were deposited, they exerted intense pressure and heat on the source rock. The heat and pressure distilled the organic material into crude oil and natural gas. The oil flowed from the source rock and accumulated in thicker, more porous limestone or sandstone, called reservoir rock. Movements in the Earth trapped the oil and natural gas in the reservoir rocks between layers of impermeable rock, or cap rock, such as granite or marble. From: HowStuffWorks
fossil fuels , animals plants die , become fossils and then turn into oil
-Oil is formed after millions of years where pressure and chemical changes causes decomposed organic materials buried in the ground to become oil.
-It is formed from decomposed organisms over millions of years, under high pressures of soil and other sediments that lay over it.
-Petroleum or Diesel is synthesised from crude oil which is extracted from ground deposits. Crude oil is basically a sedimentation of ancient fossilised phytoplankton/zooplankton which accumulates over millions of years and forced by pressure and heat into a sludge-like liquid state. Formation of petroleum occurs from hydrocarbon pyrolysis under intense heat and pressure.
-Fossil and dead plants turn into oil with time, heat and pressure
-Decomposed matter that is being compressed in the soil until it becomes oil
-Fossilised after many years
-Decomposing dinosaurs
-Oil was formed millions of years ago, where the Earth was mostly a swampy area. Dead debris and dirt would float down to the bottom of the swamp, eventually being compressed into peat, then coal and oil.
-Compressed bodies of living organisms over millions of years.
-You get crude oil from the under the sea and separate it by fractional distillation
-Over millions of years, forming from dead matter buried deep under the ground.
-From fossil fuels
I-t formed when microscopic plants and animals were living in the ocean. As these microscopic plants and animals lived, they absorbed energy from the sun, which was stored as carbon molecules in their bodies. When they died, they sank to the bottom of the sea. Over a period of time, they decomposed and the plants and bacteria were formed (something like fungi) As they became buried ever deeper, heat and pressure began to rise. The amount of pressure and the degree of heat, along with the type of biomass, determined if the material became oil or natural gas. More heat produced lighter oil. Even higher heat or biomass made predominantly of plant material produced natural gas.Broken down fossils from a few million years ago.
-Millions of years ago, plants and animals absorbed energy from the sun (a.k.a plants via photosynthesis, animals via eating the plants a la food chain). As they die, their remains sink into the ground and gets buried into the Earth. As the pressure and heat exerted by the ground increases, the biomass (the remains of the animals) slowly turns into crude oil. However, the temperature, pressure and type of biomass would affect what the biomass becomes. As such, not all biomass in the ground is crude oil. Instead, some may become natural gas too. (I hope this is correct) When dinosaur bones decompose under layers of rocks or soil.
-The dinosaurs bones rot under the ground and degrade into fossil fuels which can be used as oil. Though the fossil fuels are all buried under the ground for million of years and because of the pressure on the layers on the fossil fuels form by dead plants and animals over the years create oil.

Question 7:

How would play your part in saving the world?

The following are the responses from those being interviewed:

-Use less energy. (Energy is the crux of the current environmental crisis. Using less energy could help us delay the inevitable doom if we do not save the earth giving us more time to find alternatives)
-Use less oil
-Use less electricity when possible
-Use renewable sources.
-More usage of renewable resources
-Go green.
-make sure the sun still works as it might die soon (1-2 billion years)
-I feel that one person alone cannot save the world and it takes a collective effort for the world to actually be saved through means as recycling and such.
-Find a way to renew energy at all costs.
-Use renewable energy and of course, the 3Rs reuse, reduce, recycle,
-Go environmentally friendly
-Use less oil.
-By doing my part to conserve the environment.
-Save energy.
-Use biofuel/solar panels/renewable energies.
-save electricity
-reduce energy consumptions, which will reduce carbon footprint which will reduce pollution rate and global warming
-Change our energy consuming habits
- stop deforestation
-Recycle, Reduce use, and Reuse things
-Cut down on carbon emissions!
-Become more eco-friendly
-Use renewable energy!
- Recycle and not do things that will release harmful greenhouse gases.
-We can save the world by reducing, reusing and recycling! Other than that, we can also conserve water or any other items.  
- Recycle as much as you can – paper, glass, plastics, cardboard, newspapers, magazines, compostable food.

Question 8

DO u recycle.png

It is comforting to know that half of those being surveyed do recycle. Whilst 42% of the respondents sometimes recycle their things, it is the 8% of the interviewees whom we should target our recycling message to.