The Case For Renewable Energy

In a recent interview  Professor Peter Schubert, director of LCRE (Lugar Center for Renewable Energy), at IUPUI made a compelling case for the need to look long term for renewable energy innovations,

“Right now, renewable energy is in a slump. There’s been an incredible bonanza of energy with natural gas from hydraulic fracturing. This, purely from an economic standpoint, is a bonanza. Because of that, the pressure to look at renewable sources has dropped considerably — in industry, for consumers, and for governments. That also means that industry has less pressure to invest in renewable energy. That leaves researchers to look beyond economic arguments, to look at systems thinking, life-cycle analysis. And to think about: What is the impact on the environment? What’s the impact on human health? How do we make these things more sustainable?

Because, even though they are abundant, fossil fuels  are finite. They will become more expensive to extract and will cause cumulative effects in our environment.”

Like Professor Schubert, PolyGenomX believes in addressing the long term consequences of dependence on fossil fuels, which is why considerable time and money has been invested into developing higher-yielding OST’s (oil seed trees) for biodiesel and biomass plants such as Paulownia and Arundo donax. As well as providing a green alternative for fuel, these plants work synergistically to remediate environmental issues such as salinity, mine site issues, carbon capture and storage, among others.

Commercialisation of these products creates a win-win solution in line with Schubert’s declaration, “I’m a researcher, a scientist, and I’m also a capitalist. I believe in the free market system. I believe in making money. But these things need to be balanced … We don’t want to crash everything. We need to have a plan, a pathway that we can get to a point of sustainability. What’s at debate here is how fast do we need to do that.”

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