Tools for Carbon Management: Potential Carbon Footprint Reduction Through Fuel Switching

  • Parikhit Sinha
  • David M. Cass
Conference paper


As institutions of higher education try to meet the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment for moving toward a carbon neutral campus, they can utilize a number of carbon management tools, including greenhouse gas accounting protocols, carbon-friendly technologies, and carbon markets. However, carbon management strategies may have substantial costs, and it may be prudent to take a cost/benefit approach to evaluating them. In the case of fuel switching as a greenhouse gas emission reduction strategy, the costs and benefits of switching from fossil fuels to renewable fuels were evaluated for industrial boilers (annual heat input of 450,000 MMBtu/year) servicing a large (5 million gross square feet) campus. Switching from #6 fuel oil to B100 biodiesel led to a substantial (90%) carbon footprint reduction, but at a considerable annual incremental cost ($7.56 million). Switching from #6 fuel oil to a more efficient fossil fuel type (natural gas) resulted in a moderate (31%) carbon footprint reduction at a more reasonable annual incremental cost ($1.3 million).


Carbon Market Renewable Fuel Carbon Management Industrial Boiler Fuel Switching 
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We would like to acknowledge O’Brien & Gere for their encouragement of original technical research.


  1. Energy Information Administration (EIA). 2007. Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Update. United States Department of Energy, Washington, DC. (Available at:
  2. World Resources Institute (WRI) and World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). 2005. Calculation Tool for Direct Emissions from Stationary Combustion Calculation Worksheets, Version 3.0. (Available at:

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Parikhit Sinha
    • 1
  • David M. Cass
  1. 1.O’Brien & GereBlue BellUSA

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