[ASC-media] Australia can shape global energy futures

Cathy Reade creade at squirrel.com.au
Sun Nov 15 02:02:31 CET 2009


The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE)


ATSE is an independent body of 800 eminent Australian engineers and

driving technological solutions for a better Australia



Embargo: 16 November 2009


Contact: Cathy Reade, Media Manager, ATSE Symposium

0413 575 934 creade at squirrel.com.au




Significant opportunities for Australia in shaping global energy futures

As Parliament reconvenes to debate the Federal government's proposed
emissions trading scheme, Australia must look to a wide range of
technologies to meet the emission targets. Whether the targets are set in
Canberra or at the Copenhagen meetings next month there are significant
economic, technology and leadership opportunities for Australia. 


This was the message given by Professor Gregory McRae, Professor of Chemical
Engineering, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. McRae, an
Australian, is an advisor to many industrial, academic and government
organizations including the National Academy of Sciences, the National
Research Council and the U.S. Department of Energy. 


"It's absolutely vital that Australia's decision-makers and business leaders
recognize the critical linkages between national economic growth, energy
development and environmental impacts."


"With its rich resource base and technical talent, Australia has a unique
opportunity to show the world how to address some of the most challenging
problems of climate change." 


"Australia, if it acts now ahead of other nations, can shape how new energy
technologies might be developed and then exported to the rest of the world.
Given the scale of investments required, this is also an ideal time to forge
partnerships with other countries to both share development costs and reap
the income and employment opportunities that will come from new industries."


He told the conference that access to stable, low cost sources of energy is
one of the key components of long term economic growth for any country.


Professor McRae was speaking at the Australian Academy of Technological
Sciences and Engineering 2009 National Symposium "Future-Proofing Australia
- Rising to the Challenge of Climate Change" in Brisbane on 16-17 November.


"This week's deliberations on an emissions trading scheme are just the
beginning. There are many possibilities for Australian business creation in
such areas as clean coal combustion, geothermal electricity generation,
carbon capture, CO2 sequestration, markets for emissions reductions and the
next generation of nuclear reactors. There are many ways to add value to the
current exports of coal, minerals, uranium, thorium and natural gas," said
Professor McRae.


"By acting now, we will have the best chance to be at the leading edge of
creation and deployment of these new technologies and in fact, become a
global leader." 


"It's important to get the right mix - how Australia invests in new energy
technology will have enormous long term economic and environment impacts.
While it's crucially important to consider all alternative energy
technologies, each must be assessed in a systematic way to evaluate the
impacts over their whole lifecycle."


"Some renewable sources, in particular biofuels, require a lot of energy to
produce them in the first place. A broader view than just CO2 is needed.
Fossil fuel combustion can have impacts on urban and regional scale
pollutants like ozone, sulfuric and nitric acids," he said.


 "There are four key components of an energy policy: competitiveness,
sustainable development, the security of supply, and life cycle impacts of
new technologies," he said.


McRae was co-author of a recent influential MIT study that explored the
options for reducing emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from coal fired power
generation facilities in the United States, China and India.  The study
provided an evaluation of the current technologies for carbon capture
including:  Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC), Oxygen Firing,
and CO2 capture technologies applied to conventional coal fired power
plants. Many recommendations from the report are of direct relevance to
Australia. A key recommendation was the critical need to do demonstrations,
at scale, of carbon capture and sequestration technology.


"I am very pleased to see that Australia is pursuing these experiments."


Other speakers attending the conference include:


.          Dr John Loughhead - Executive Director, UK Energy Research Centre
addressing future energy technologies and philosophies


.          Mr Revis W James - Director, Energy Technology Assessment Center,
Electric Power Research Institute, USA on electric power


.          Professor Luuk van der Wielen - Bioseparation Technology Group,
Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands on the future of energy from


.          Mr. John Pierce - Vice President, Technology, DuPont, Applied
BioSciences, USA on renewable fuels and materials


.          Dr Zhengrong Shi - CEO and Chairman, Suntech Holding Co Ltd,
China on solar power


.          Dr Ziggy Switkowski - Chairman, Australian Nuclear Science and
Technology Organisation


.          Professor Kelly Thambimuthu - Chairman, International Energy
Agency Greenhouse Gas Program on low emission coal technologies


Full program available



ATSE wishes to thank the sponsors for this event:

University of Queensland, Monash University, Australian Institute for
Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, University of Melbourne, University of
Western Australia, Queensland Cyber Infrastructure Foundation (QCIF),
Powerlink, CRC Mining, Engineers Australia (Qld Division), Australian Power
Institute, Energex, Griffith University, Ergon Energy, Queensland University
of Technology, BP




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