Luis Alvarez

Faculty Mentor: Steven Barrett

Direct Supervisor: Robert Malina, Christoph Wollersheim, Hakan Olcay

Home University: University of Florida

Major: Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical Engineering


I was born in Mexico City, Mexico and raised in Miami, Fl. I am a senior at the University of Florida pursuing a dual degree in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Astronomy. I’m interested in research in alternative propulsion systems, nano-satellites, and adaptive aircraft surface controls. I aspire to open my own company to commercialize space travel in the near future by inventing industry competitive spacecraft, which can be used for research or recreational purposes. I also hope to revolutionize communication systems for third world countries by providing cheap and reliable nano-satellite communication arrays. My current goal is to attend graduate school and attain a PhD in Aerospace Engineering.


Assumptions for Alternative Fuel Assessments

Alternative fuels are believed to reduce life cycle greenhouse gas emissions (LC GHG) relative to conventional fuels, however analysis of production cost and GHG emissions depends on numerous assumptions. This is the subject of the research. Current attempts to reduce GHG emissions from conventional jet fuels are often focused on reducing fuel consumption or increasing overall aircraft efficiency, while alternative jet fuels concentrate on carbon sequestration leading to reduced emissions from biomass extraction and biofuel production steps. The effects of co-product allocation rules on LC GHG assessment of producing synthetic paraffinic kerosene (SPK) from oil crops through the HEFA (Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids) process are analyzed. Additionally, cost model assumptions are investigated to attain gate prices for alternative fuels. A process-level sensitivity analysis of allocation rules is analyzed for these SPK fuels, also known as HEFA jet fuels, derived from soybean, camelina, jatropha, rapeseed, and palm feedstocks. Cost model assumptions are compared between literature and internal models, and are found to obtain realistic fuel gate price estimates. The findings of this research are that assumptions for allocation rules and gate prices create vast differences in specific cases, such as ±63.4% in GHG emissions and while gate prices vary ±$1.25/gal. The level of effect allocation and finance assumptions have depends on feedstock, co-products, and final product slates.