While digging through my old files, I found this essay on methane as a fuel. I remember writing this in eighth grade for my sister, and thinking how great it was. Now, with the AP scale, I believe this essay would achieve a three or four out of ten.
The essay begins off stronger than most of my essays, for I spent more time on the introduction than any other part of the essay. I, did, however, imitate this introduction from a book.
By any measure, nobody would want to smell, or look at feces. Yet with everyone’s distaste, feces has its worth. Farmers use it as fertilizer. Others use it as cement. Even George Washington Carver recognized its worth—he used it to make paint. But instead producing fuel for plants, feces could produce the fuel of the future. That fuel is methane
The next paragraph is organized, but does not flow smoothly. I also did not spell out the numbers, even though they could be "written in one or two words", which goes against the all-knowing, omnipotent, perfectly flawless, holy Modern Language Association.
Methane (CH4) is the primary component of natural gas, the fuel that heats our homes and cooks our food. Cleaner than the already clean natural gas, methane to carbon dioxide is 1 to 3 in pounds. Gasoline to carbon dioxide, at its best, would be 1 to 7. Pure methane emits no sulfur dioxide or nitrogen oxide. Both chemicals cause acid rain.
With no transition, I produce another paragraph on infrastructure. This paragraph, like the one above it, does not sound quite right when read aloud. Furthermore, I could have omitted the third sentence as well. Also, Microsoft Word did not mark the last sentence as a run-on, which it should have. Did it seriously expect the eighth-grade me to check my work?
That is why I now use Google Docs.
Infrastructure is a primary issue for most renewable sources. Methane, however, is renewable natural gas. Anything natural gas can do, methane can do better. Like natural gas, methane can heat homes, generate electricity, and can fuel vehicles. Only infrastructure for methane vehicles is not in place, infrastructure is not an issue.
Yet even Google Docs cannot site my sources for me, as I failed to do with the paragraph on methane's abundance.
Methane is abundant and renewable. In the states of New York and New Jersey, landfills produce 16.7 cubic feet of methane each day. Manure also produces methane. The EPA reports that over 220 livestock farms harness this methane for energy. Nebraska alone produces enough methane to power 135,000 homes.
It was a .gov site too. If only I had cited it. The Modern Language Association love .gov sites. They seem to think the government is less biased than Wikipedia...
But thankfully, I did not cite Wikipedia as my source. Instead, immediately after I presented all the benefits of methane, I throw down the detriments of methane, with no forewarning to the reader. These errors of disorganization and poor transitions are more than MLA-dictated legalism; they are universally agreed upon grievances.
Although clean in an engine, methane is a greenhouse gas. Methane traps 72 times more heat than carbon dioxide. With widespread use, methane could leak into the atmosphere. But technology does improve. Stronger pipelines and storage tanks could cut leakage.
I, however, smoothly introduce the next inflated paragraph. before concluding the essay strongly.
Also, methane is difficult to store. One kilogram of methane equals to 1.395 cubic meters, the volume of a small car. You could reduce volume of a gas by cooling or pressurizing. Methane vehicles use compressed or super-cooled liquid methane because of storage reasons. For heating homes and electricity, companies can store methane without alteration.
Lucky for me that many people judge an essay by the introduction and conclusion paragraph, for those two paragraphs are the only paragraphs which are solid.