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Nov 11, 2010 | Georgia Tech - Sam Nunn Security Fellows Program
Three Sam Nunn Security Fellows (2008-09) from CISTP - Joy Brathwaite, Stephen Horst, and Joseph Iacobucci - have successfully published their article, "Maximizing efficiency in the transition to a coal-based economy" in the Oct 2010 edition of "Energy Policy" journal.
Energy is the lynchpin of modern society. Since the early 1970s, growing dependence on foreign energy sources, oil in particular, has constrained US independence in foreign policy, and at times, inhibited economic stability and growth. Addressing oil dependence is politically and economically complex. Proposed solutions are multifaceted with various objectives such as energy efficiency and resource substitution. One solution is the partial transition from an oil- to coal-based economy. A number of facts support this solution including vast coal reserves in the US and the relative price stability of coal. However, several roadblocks exist. These include uncertain recoverable reserves and the immaturity of “clean” coal technologies. This paper provides a first order analysis of the most efficient use of coal assuming the transition from oil to coal is desirable. Scenario analysis indicates two possible transition pathways: (1) bring the transportation sector onto the electric grid and (2) use coal-to-liquid fuels to directly power vehicles. The feasibility of each pathway is examined based on economic and environmental factors, among which are energy availability, affordability and efficiency, and environmental sustainability. Results indicate that partial transition of the transportation sector onto the electric grid offers the more viable solution for coal-based reduction of the US oil dependence.
At the time of the Fellowship, Joy Brathwaite was pursuing a PhD in Aerospace Engineering in the Space Systems Design Lab. She received a BSc. in Aerospace Engineering and a MSc. in Economics from Georgia Tech. Joy worked at the Caribbean Development Bank evaluating the inherent economic vulnerabilities of Small Island Developing States, and at the Aerospace Corporation identifying the driving factors in cost overruns of megaproejcts. Her general research interests were in the area of the Design and Acquisition of Space Assets. Specific domains of interests include the concept of value and its integration into the acquisition process, and the impact of investment strategies on needs identification and space systems selection.
At the time of the Fellowship, Stephen Horst had received a B.S. degree with distinction in electrical and computer engineering from The Ohio State University in Columbus in 2004, a M.S. degree in electrical and computer engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta in 2006, and was currently working toward a Ph.D. degree at Georgia Tech. His B.S. thesis concerned subharmonic superposition in radar infrared receivers, while his M.S. thesis investigated the low-cost fabrication of millimeter-wave circuits using LCP substrates. From 2001 to 2003, he was an Intern with Cisco Systems in Akron, OH, where he practiced radio frequency circuit and system design in the UNII-1 and UNII-2 unlicensed bands. His research involved the study of radiation hardening techniques for frequency synthesis in the silicon germanium research team led by Dr. John D. Cressler.
At the time of the Fellowship, Joseph Iacobucci was a third year Aerospace Engineering PhD student with the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory. Joseph received a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering and a Master's of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He has interned at NASA Dryden and BAE Systems. Joseph currently works with BAE Systems and Eglin AFB for his research on Capability Based Planning methods. He was interested improving decision making techniques and incorporating political and social aspects into technology selection. His research focus was simulation methods for systems-of-systems.