A Murdoch University student has won a state-wide competition on how to meet the world’s future energy needs as part of the Shell Global Energy Forum 2012.
Marcus Tang, a Master of Science in Renewable Technology student in the School of Engineering and Energy, was one of five winners to present at the forum, each recognised for their responses to the question ‘where should the world get its future energy from?’
While winners from Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, Notre Dame University and the University of Western Australia focussed on single source solutions, Mr Tang advocated a mixed approach.
He supported using renewable resources such as wind, water, solar and geothermal power, as well as recyclable resources derived from human and animal waste and recycled biomass such as wood waste, landfill gas and biogas.
“These energy sources are vital because they are abundant, accessible and have little or no claims of ownership. Every country has varying degrees of renewable resources based on their geography and has readily available recyclable resources,” Mr Tang said.
“The challenge lies in adopting the right mix of technology to generate the required output and efficiency while managing cost.”
Mr Tang said he believed future energy production would be geared to the needs and characteristics of each individual country.
As examples, he noted Iceland currently generates 30 per cent of its national energy requirements from geothermal sources while China’s Henan, Hubei, Jiangxi and Shanxi provinces were rapidly expanding the use of biogas derived from agricultural waste.
“In contrast to growing biomass for energy, using recyclable sources helps protect the environment. Growing biomass creates a host of problems and puts a strain on scarce agricultural resources for food production,” Mr Tang said.
“Overall, Australia is well positioned for the future, as it has abundant access to natural resources, including the highest solar radiation per square metre of any continent in the world. The country also has access to hydro, wind, geothermal and ocean energy.”
The Perth Global Energy Forum 2012 was held at the University Club of UWA on September 26 and was facilitated by Peter Robinson, Vice President of Shell Australia, and Peter Klinger, Business Editor of The West Australian.
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