Is Australia ready to make sustainable biofuel from algae?
New sources for sustainable and renewable energy are being discovered all the time, and one promising new energy source is biofuel produced from algae. Surrounded by ocean and drenched in sunlight, experts are calling Australia the perfect place for the algae biofuel industry to take shape. The only question is this: is Australia ready to take on the challenge?
After all, it’s not always an easy sell to persuade government agencies to invest valuable dollars in emerging technologies; in some ways, convincing the private sector to invest can be even more difficult. Environmental benefits aren’t always enough and are often polarizing. For maximum support the results must be worth the effort, and with newly emerging technologies it can be difficult to immediately show that technology’s full potential return on investment. Journal The Conversation recently pointed this out, and offered up several reasons why algae biofuel is one new technology that Australia should be seriously invested in.
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One major selling point of biofuel’s value to the Australian community is jobs. According to The Conversation’s research, large-scale algae biofuel production could create as many as 13,000 jobs in Australia and trigger an economic stimulus of around A$4 billion:
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The report also notes that the economic stimulus potentially generated by algae biofuel production could also be significantly more promising than the crude oil production that is standard today:
Right now there are already small-scale algae biofuel facilities in operation around the world, from Western Australia to the United States, but the potential of a large-scale operation is promising. It would be quite an investment, but all signs are pointing to it being well worth the effort.
[SOURCE: The Conversation]
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.