Tom Drennen, associate professor of economics and chair of the environmental studies department at HWS, recently presented a seminar at the newly created Energy Research Institute of the University of Rochester. Drennen presented his Alternative Liquid Fuels Simulation Model (AltSim), developed at Sandia National Laboratories, where he is senior economist.
“The model is very interactive and enabled an interesting exchange and discussion,” says Drennen.
The Alternative Liquid Fuels Simulation Model is a high-level dynamic simulation model which calculates and compares the production costs, carbon dioxide emissions, and energy balances of several alternative liquid transportation fuels. These fuels include: corn ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, biodiesel, and diesels derived from natural gas (gas to liquid, or GTL), coal (coal to liquid, or CTL), and coal with biomass (CBTL). AltSim allows for comprehensive sensitivity analyses on capital costs, operation and maintenance costs, renewable and fossil fuel feedstock costs, feedstock conversion efficiency, financial assumptions, tax credits, CO2 taxes, and plant capacity factor.
A member of the HWS faculty since 1995, Drennen earned a B.S. in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an M.A. in Public Affairs from the University of Minnesota, and a Ph.D. in resource economics from Cornell University. In 2006, he received the Hobart and William Smith Excellence in Teaching Award.
Drennen is the author of “Pathways to a Hydrogen Future,” which seeks to untangle competing visions of a hydrogen economy, explain the trade-offs and obstacles, and offer recommendations for a path forward. The results are based on “The Hydrogen Futures Simulation Model,” also developed at Sandia National Laboratories.