A Carpet That Reduces Footprints…Carbon Footprints, That Is.

A Carpet That Reduces Footprints…Carbon Footprints, That Is.

July 15, 2021

 

The next time you step on a commercial market, you may be walking on stored carbon dioxide.

Interface, a maker of commercial flooring, has developed carpet tiles that have a negative carbon footprint. Their design involves the infusion and storage of carbon dioxide, and the processes to manufacture them are more energy-efficient. Other manufacturers are betting on this innovation to produce environmentally friendly plastics, fuels, concrete, and even fish food. The concept is attractive but it faces multiple obstacles before it becomes commercially viable and widely adopted.

 


Video Spotlight: Carbon as a Resource at Interface


This post is based on The New York Times article, Has the Carbontech Revolution Begun?, by J. Gertner, June 23, 2021, and the YouTube video, Interface FYI|Carbon, by Interface, January 27, 2019. Image source: lucato/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. What is carbontech? Give some examples of products involving this concept.

Guidance: Carbontech, or carbon utilization, involves the use or recycling of carbon oxides to make value-added products. The products “store” the pollutants, and the fabrication processes used to make these products add no emissions. Carbon neutrality remains a long-term goal for many businesses, but being carbon negative is already Continue reading

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Squeezing Every Cent from a Barrel of Oil

Squeezing Every Cent from a Barrel of Oil

July 13, 2021

A barrel of oil is no longer a leaky cask. Rather, it is an economic concept.

As a result, creating value along the supply chain has evolved from streamlining operations to exploiting operational and commercial synergies. The emphasis has shifted from vertical integration and expertise in specialized energy sectors to a tightly coordinated system in which every opportunity to increase profit margins is pursued. The agile system has the potential to quickly address supply-and-demand imbalances through access to energy storage and a focus on spot sales rather than long-term contracts. A certain quantity of oil can only be produced once, but it can be traded multiple times to maximize profit throughout the supply chain.

 


Video Spotlight: Difficult Cooperation in the Oil Industry


This post is based on the Forbes article, Is a Complex Value Chain Squeezing Every Cent from a Barrel of Oil?, by M. Ashraf, June 23, 2021, and the YouTube video, The Terrifying Oil & Gas Shock of 2021|$10 Gas Spike, by MHFIN, July 5, 2021. Image source: Grassetto/iStock/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. Why are vertical integration and specialization along energy product lines outdated? Are those systems essentially “leaky” barrels?

Guidance: Rockefeller, the Continue reading

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Hacks and Cracks Disrupt the Supply Chain

Hacks and Cracks Disrupt the Supply Chain

July 10, 2021

Since the onset of COVID-19, shortages of products have been common.

Many shortages were the result of the pandemic, including unexpected increases in demand, and facilities shutdown due to sick workers. With the re-opening of the economy, shortages have continued. Demand spikes, coupled with organizations being unable to re-staff enough workers, has led to product shortages in areas such as lumber.

However, not all disruptions in the supply chain are directly tied to the pandemic. Recently, the Colonial Pipeline was shut down due to hackers. This pipeline is one of the largest in the world, stretching from Houston, Texas into the northeastern United States. Its 5-day shutdown led to gasoline shortages along its length.

Another disruption to supply chains is being caused by a crack in the I-40 bridge in Memphis, Tennessee.  The crack has forced the closure of the bridge for months, and temporarily shut down barge traffic on the Mississippi River. Traffic from this bridge has been diverted to the I-55 bridge, backing up traffic. Memphis hosts FedEx’s largest hub, and is a key artery for many supply chains.

Disruptions such as these illustrate weaknesses in the US infrastructure that can disrupt supply chains.


Video Spotlight:  Continue reading

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