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

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