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Center for Earth Systems Engineering and Management


A collection of scholarly work published by and supporting the Center for Earth Systems Engineering and Management (CESEM) at Arizona State University.

CESEM focuses on "earth systems engineering and management," providing a basis for understanding, designing, and managing the complex integrated built/human/natural systems that increasingly characterize our planet.

Works in this collection are particularly important in linking engineering, technology, and sustainability, and are increasingly intertwined with the work of ASU's Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS).


Date Range
2010 2018


California high-speed rail will add a new long-distance transportation service and has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and damages to human health and the environment. A life-cycle assessment is performed and results reported for the California corridor in the 2030 to 2050 time period. Several future infrastructure and operating characteristics are evaluated to determine the critical characteristics that should be focused on when designing, constructing, and operating the system. This research provides results for and discussions of the possible futures of California long-distance transportation service with a focus on a multi-modal system that includes high-speed rail.

Contributors
Chester, Mikhail, Horvath, Arpad
Created Date
2012-04-11

This study seeks to examine how the introduction of residential solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) will affect urban air quality. Both the life-cycle and operations emissions profiles of an SOFC are compared with the baseload electricity generating technologies that widespread adoption of SOFCs would replace – coal fired, natural gas combined cycle, and nuclear. The monetary impacts from use phase emissions are then assessed in five water-vulnerable cities in which SOFCs would likely be adopted in order to increase local resilience to electricity failures as a result of water shortages. The SOFC system under study is a 1 kWe system …

Contributors
Herron, Seth
Created Date
2012-05

Meaningful sustainable consumption patterns require informed consumers who understand the actual impact of their actions on a quantitative and tangible basis. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a tool well suited to achieving this goal, but has only been superficially applied to the analysis of plant-based diets. This analysis looks at a common component of plant-based meat alternatives: a wheat-based protein known as seitan, which is a common substitute for beef. A comparative consequential analysis shows the overall change in environmental impact when 1000 servings of seitan displace 1000 servings of beef. The functional unit for comparison is one serving of …

Contributors
Berardy, Andrew
Created Date
2012-05

Our study calculates the estimated difference in water use, energy demands, and CO2 emissions of head lettuce associated with the production (land preparation and growing operations, chemical inputs, irrigation) and the transportation (diesel demand) to the Phoenix metro area from: 1) a local level, defined here as within Maricopa County, Arizona (AZ) and 2) from the central coast of California (CA) in Monterey County. Our research results demonstrate that local lettuce is more resource intensive than non-local or regional produce. Production in Maricopa County has significantly higher (more than double) energy demands and emissions than Monterey County. Irrigation and chemical …

Contributors
Schoon, Briar, Talbot, Kathleen, Xiong, Angie
Created Date
2012-05

While the scientific study of religion is not new, the topic has yet to be approached by Lifecycle Assessment (LCA). This work demonstrates a method for assessing the personal “cost” of “manufacturing” a mature religious adherent, or, a believer committed to a particular faith. By measuring such inputs as personal importance of faith, prayer, religious service attendance, religious experiences, and scripture reading, an assessment can be made of the quantity of such inputs required to engender enduring religious devotion. Ultimately, this study has demonstrated that the data typically collected in longitudinal surveys are insufficient to adequately support any firm quantitative …

Contributors
Roberts, Tom
Created Date
2012-05

Our objectives are to: (1) review the LCA literature to determine the dominant environmental impact categories in wild-caught fisheries in order to evaluate which phases are causing the greatest impacts; and (2) determine how these impacts can best be mitigated and develop a framework that seeks to incorporates LCA into sustainable seafood guides so that consumers can make better-informed decisions. This framework will include developing meaningful LCA impact categories for sustainable seafood guides. Despite their importance, we considered social factors beyond the scope of this paper.

Contributors
Senko, Jesse
Created Date
2012-05

The research topic for this assignment is shrimp farming in Thailand located throughout the coastal areas of the southern, eastern, and central regions of the country. Thailand’s huge shrimp export driven industry represents one of the largest in the world accounting for over twenty-five percent of food exports out of the country (Sriboonchitta & Wiboonpongse, n.d.). Specific research questions include: 1. What are the current unsustainable practices in shrimp farm production? 2. In what part of the life cycle should intervention take place? 3. What does a sustainable shrimp farming practice look like in the future?

Contributors
Sieng, Michael
Created Date
2012-05

This study analyzes the feasibility of using algae cultivated from wastewater effluent to produce a biodiesel feedstock. The goal was to determine if the energy produced was greater than the operational energy consumed without consideration to constructing the system as well as the emissions and economic value associated with the process. Four scenarios were created; 1) high-lipid, dry extraction, 2) high-lipid, wet extraction, 3) low-lipid, dry extraction and, 4) low-lipid, wet extraction. In all cases the system required more energy than it produced. In high lipid scenarios the energy produced is close to the energy consumed and with minor improvements …

Contributors
Barr, William, Hottle, Troy
Created Date
2012-05

Sonoma County, CA is on an ambitious pathway to meeting stringent carbon emissions goals that are part of California Assembly Bill 32. At the county-level, climate planners are currently evaluating options to assist residents of the county in reducing their carbon footprint and also for saving money. The Sonoma County Energy Independence Program (SCEIP) is one such county-level measure that is currently underway. SCEIP is a revolving loan fund that eligible residents may utilize to install distributed solar energy on their property. The fund operates like a property tax assessment, except that it only remains for a period of 20 …

Contributors
Krause, Andrew
Created Date
2012-05

Anticipatory LCA seeks to overcome the paucity of data through scenario development and thermodynamic bounding analyses. Critical components of anticipatory LCA include: 1) laboratory-scale inventory data collection for nano-manufacturing processes, and preliminary performance evaluation, 2) thermodynamic modeling of manufacturing processes and developing scenarios of efficiency gains informed by analogous material processing industries, and 3) use-phase bounding to report inventory data in a functional unit descriptive of performance. Together these analyses may call attention to environmentally problematic processes or nanotechnologies before significant investments in R&D and infrastructure contribute to technology lock in. The following case study applies these components of anticipatory …

Contributors
Wender, Ben
Created Date
2012-05