Cane can give us power
THERE has been a lot of discussion on electricity prices and renewable energy sources lately.
Most people understand that the way forward for costs to the hip pocket and to our environment is renewable energy electricity generation. Investing money in coal or gas powered electricity is only a short- term fix that will have serious implications for future generations who will pick up the tab for bad decision making.
We have relative stability in our climate now because Mother Nature has stored excess carbon in the ground over millions of years. Digging up and releasing that carbon can only upset that delicate balance. Recycling what we have at our disposal makes sense to me.
At the moment renewable energy is being provided through a mixture of technologies, the most popular being wind and solar. Both of these systems have storage and reliability issues. There is one renewable energy opportunity that is being ignored here in Queensland and that is the sugar cane industry. As a producer of a sweetener this industry continues to stagger along on the edge of bankruptcy and this will not change. I believe this industry should change direction and become a renewable energy industry by becoming an electricity generator only.
This would be achieved by harvesting the whole crop and converting it to ethanol which would then be used to generate electricity through farmer owned power stations. Ethanol powered generators are already commercially available and operational.
The benefits are not limited to electricity consumers as long suffering cane farmers will have a stable and profitable industry. Energy users will have a 24- hour energy supply not dependent on the weather conditions and we will stop the drain of profits to overseas companies. We must embrace innovation and change if we want this once proud industry to survive and prosper.
All who are looking to improve the future for our children should give this proposal more than a passing thought and encourage our politicians and industry leaders to have a legitimate probe into how this can be achieved.
I think they will discover electrical energy creation from sugar cane derived ethanol will prove to be the most efficient renewable energy source available as well as the most beneficial to our environment.
Once established, it will provide all of the energy required to produce that electricity. This includes the energy to produce and process the crop because ethanol has now evolved to power all of our modern internal combustion engines which include diesels.
Let’s add sugar cane to the renewable energy shopping list. ADRIAN WONE,