Specific technology

The final Term Paper is intended to be an individual short report reviewing a specific technology that you either think a) needs to be developed or b) needs to be more widely applied to resolve specific sustainability issues. As part of your analysis, you need to clearly describe the concept (include figures, etc, as useful) explaining why it resolves a sustainability challenge, evaluate the various impacts of its adoption on the triple bottom line (e.g., does it trade environmental impacts for social impacts in an unacceptable manner?), and examine other alternatives. The limits are 1-you can’t violate the first/second laws of thermodynamics (basically, you can’t make energy/matter out of nothing), and 2-the technology can’t rely on materials/processes that don’t exist yet. The request is that you assemble a medium length paper in which you supply the following:


-Presents the problem being solved (overview, why it is an important problem, etc)

-Including a strong thesis statement (i.e., what is it that your paper will be presenting/arguing for)

-The thesis statement needs to very clearly present what your paper is all about. E.g., “this paper presents the design for a nuclear fission powered moped as the ideal urban transportation device, and analyzes some advantages and disadvantages over the present transportation system”

Proposed Technological Advancement

-In which you give a better description of the proposed technological advancement (make sure that a technically literate reader that is not an expert in your field can understand the description)

-Use figures/math as appropriate.

-For example, see the diagram on the paper template

-An example of the use of math would be to support the use of a solar powered moped: given that you are proposing a moped equipped with a 2kW system Like the original Honda PA50), if powered by a photovoltaic system, assuming ca. 15% efficiency for a PV system, and an approximate input of 1kW/m2, you need to equip your moped with ca. 13 m2 of solar cells for steady state operation.

-Even if it is a known system, include a clear description!

Background / Supporting Information

-Where you describe what is out there in the literature on the topic

-Particularly important is info showing that your approach is feasible/important


-Where you assess the impacts (positive and/or negative as appropriate) of the technological issue

-For example, in the context of the triple bottom line (impacts on environment, society, economy)


-In which you summarize how the info in sections 2/3/4 support your thesis statement (seriously, that’s the role of the conclusions section!)

Bias Evaluation

-In which you attempt to analyse whether your paper includes some specific bias

-E.g., your decision that nuclear powered mopeds are the best approach depends on your assumption that use of wind up mopeds will lead to “peak spring” due to depletion of spring mines worldwide.

Other specs:

Page Length = 3.5 +- 0.5 pages inclusive of figures and references

1” margins all around

Single spaced

Font: Arial, Times New Roman or similar size 12

At least four references

Term Paper Evaluation

As before, use the assignment template or a reasonable imitation and submit on Canvas as a PDF file.

The paper will be graded on:


-Did you use the paper template and did you remain within the page limit?

-Did you use at least four references appropriately?


-Is the proposed concept clearly described?

-Does the proposed technology resolve a sustainability challenge?

-Can the reader understand the proposed technology

-Is the use of figures/diagrams appropriate?

-Is a useful background on the problem and/or technology given?

-Are the sustainability issues of the proposed technology evaluated in a meaningful manner?

-Is a clear conclusion given that is supported by the other sections?

-Is a meaningful bias evaluation carried out?

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