Duke Student-Led Research

Kala Viswanathan's undergraduate research project poster on the anaerobic digester decomposition.

Kala Viswanathan's undergraduate research project poster on the anaerobic digester decomposition

Nicholas School Master Projects

Duke Forest Carbon (2011)
Authors: Eric Downing, Erin Fulton, Joshua Strauss

An extensive analysis of the potential carbon offset generation from the Duke Forest, including a financial analysis of the results. Their results indicated that the Duke Forest could generate 358,109 offset credits over the next 50 years, saving the university over $1.5 million.

Carbon Offset Opportunities at the Duke University Health System (2012)
Authors: Ye Lin, Erin Shown, Kimberly Wallis

Multiple financially feasible carbon reduction projects within the DUHS were identified for possible carbon offsets. The projects included energy use reduction as well as improved waste management.

A Protocol for Co-Digestion Systems as a Source of Carbon Offsets for the Duke Carbon Offsets Initiative (2012)
Authors: Karina Hilton Spiegel, Jenna Feistritzer, Kelly McElwee, Madeleine Foote

The project reviewed the potential for the Barham swine farm in Johnston County to become a part of DCOI's carbon offsets. They reviewed the farmer's already progressive systems, identified potential revenue streams for the farmer, and assessed DCOI's potential role in further developing the farm's systems. If the Barham farm were to become part of DCOI's portfolio of carbon offsets, it would meet 27% of its offset obligation.

Duke Carbon Offsets Initiative: Organic Waste Diversion Options & Waste to Energy Opportunities (2011)
Authors: Emilie Wangerman, Matthew Kaufmann, Chen Wei Tang

This project investigates different opportunities to create carbon offsets from organic waste diversion. They primarily look at organic waste composting and organic waste digestion but also look at ways that the organic waste co-products could be alternatively used, such as mulch for Duke University landscaping.

Duke Carbon Offsets Initiative: Forestry Carbon Financial Risk Analysis (2011)
Authors: Wyley Hodgson

The financial risk assessment focuses on two potential offset projects, afforestation and avoided conversion, and quantitatively calculates the levelized cost per offset. Both projects are found to be potential long-term investment candidates; however, with different financial risks and needs. The up front and long term costs vary by project as do their production of offsets depending on time scales and size of project.

A Business Plan for Blue Carbon Offsets at Duke University (2012)
Authors: Rebecca Fisher, Jian Huo

The business plan strategizes how the DCOI could utilize the newly developing carbon offset, called "blue carbon," by preserving and revitalizing North Carolina's coastline. They recommend preserving wetlands that would otherwise be converted to a different land use.