‘Flying wind mills’ and nuclear waste: The future of energy?


Iowa State University’s pilot-scale fast pyrolysis equipment. (Photo: Contributed/Iowa State University)

I was quite stunned when I read this article today. There are so many exciting ongoing scientific developments and research projects to combat climate change – it is truly amazing and for an environmentalist like me, deeply heartening. I wonder if it’s possible to phase out fossil fuel use within 50 years. Of course some fossil fuel corporations wield a great deal of political influence through political donations and connections. They will likely try to impede a transition towards a low-carbon future.

However, public opinion in many countries – most notably in the two most powerful countries of our times, the US and China – has clearly swung towards curbing emissions. There is immense pressure on their governments and others to act, and this was evidenced by the positive outcome at the recent climate change summit in Paris in which the two juggernauts showed very firm commitment and provided impressive leadership. In addition,  corporate titans outside the fossil fuel sector, like Coca-Cola and Google, have also shown clear signs of recognising the urgency of the problem and the fact that their own business interests are jeopardised by this looming threat. The movers and shakers of the world, both political and economic, are taking climate change very seriously, and it is they who make the world go round. I would not bet against a future where fossil fuels are either eliminated, or reduced to playing only a minor role in the global energy mix.


Donnelle Eller, The Des Moines Register 5:11 p.m. EST January 8, 2016

Here’s a look at some of the next-generation energy under development:

Tidal power

Some companies are developing technology that would enable Americans to tap into energy derived from ocean waves and river tides, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. One company is using this hydrokinetic technology on an Alaskan river to provide electricity to a remote village. The project seeks to decrease the community’s diesel fuel use and help lower electricity costs. All the small rural village’s fuel is either shipped or flown in.


Scientists and engineers at universities and startups are exploring ways to create carbon-negative energy. One approach is pyrolysis, a technology that rapidly heats biomass, such as corn stalks, switchgrass or wood chips, without oxygen to produce a bio-crude that can be used for transportation fuels or bio-based chemicals or to generate electricity. It also produces biochar, a carbon-rich solid similar to charcoal produced in campfires, that can be applied to farmland to sequester carbon and boost soil fertility.

Read more here.


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About gptuitionsg

A dedicated English and GP tutor with First Class Honours from the National University of Singapore, Steven Ooi retired from the profession after a 14-year career during which he was one of the most sought-after private tutors in Singapore. He is the recipient of the Minerva Prize from NUS, which is awarded to the top English Language honours student of each cohort. This website, which has consistently ranked among the top 10 on Google and has received over 530,000 hits, has now been converted into a GP resource site cum listing of recommended tutors. If you are a GP or English tutor who wishes to be listed here, please email Steven Ooi at stevenooi18 @ yahoo.com (remove the spaces). Interested parties will be assessed and interviewed by him, and qualifications will be checked. These procedures are necessary to uphold quality standards. DISCLAIMER: While every reasonable effort has been made to assess the competence and verify the qualifications of recommended tutors here, no guarantees are made and you engage them at your own risk. By using this website, you agree that you will not hold the webmaster Steven Ooi responsible for any consequences — direct or otherwise — that occur in relation with your use of this website.
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1 Response to ‘Flying wind mills’ and nuclear waste: The future of energy?

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