RSC calls for urgent energy action to follow words
09 November 2005
On the eve of a critical examination of future British energy scenarios, the Royal Society of Chemistry is calling for urgent action to achieve a low-carbon sustainable energy strategy.
Professor Rodney Townsend, RSC Director for Science and Technology, welcomed the publication of the Solutions Conference How to Plug the Energy Gap report due out Thursday and emphasised how its conclusions matched those in the recent RSC's Chemical Science Priorities for Sustainable Energy Solutions report.
"Every day we delay taking action to reduce energy consumption, we may be committing future generations to a warmer planet with unknown consequences," said Professor Townsend, "The time has come to take steps and if they are not taken soon the coming generations will judge us severely. The RSC believes that the Government has a key role to play in constructing a long-term framework to develop a secure low-carbon sustainable energy strategy in the UK and we believe that the public must be engaged in the development of, and a proactive partner in, future energy strategies."
"The role of the chemical sciences, in collaboration with other sciences and engineering, will be critical in providing solutions to technological barriers and in supplying skills to underpin energy generation and education to raise public awareness and enthuse the next generation of researchers."
The RSC agrees that future UK energy demand will be met by a diverse range of sources. However, reduction in the demand for energy is a key factor in the provision of a sustainable energy supply, especially that relating to heating, transportation and electricity generation.
"A range of technological hurdles need to be overcome if promising energy technologies are to become a reality. The efficiency of energy production from fossil fuels needs to be improved and, at the same time, technologies need to be developed for carbon capture and storage. Durable and efficient materials for renewable energy generation, like cheap and easily manufactured photovoltaic cells to capture solar energy, need to be developed and at the same time efficient systems for the storage of excess energy locally are needed."
"It is also vital", he said, "that the energy demands of both the industrial and domestic buildings is reduced, through the use of better insulating materials, sensors for detecting when lights and heat can be switched off, and by using low energy lighting. Improving the efficiency of, and reducing the emissions from, both road and aviation vehicles must also be a key part of any energy strategy. Looking to the future, efficient methods for the production, distribution and storage of hydrogen and for its conversion to energy must be developed."
Prof Townsend added that "irrespective of whether or not the UK commissions new nuclear power stations, reliable and durable solutions for nuclear waste management must be delivered and underscored the role that chemical scientists will have to play in that task".
- The "Chemical Science Priorities for Sustainable Energy Solutions" report was published in March 2005 by the RSC Environment, Sustainability and Energy Forum. An electronic copy may be downloaded. For a hard copy please contact Dr Jeff Hardy.
30 March 2005
Energy crisis 'will be permanent'
BBC report - 10 November 2005
How to plug the energy gap
Geological Society - 10 November 2005
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