Energy usage raises alarm signals for all of us regarding the economical, health system, and equally important consumption behavior. A study undertaken by Chicago University regarding pollution – The hidden killer, concluded that pollution is costing us almost two years of our lives.

We live up to two years less because of the pollution.

The EU intends to reduce up to 50% of the CO2 emissions by the year 2030. Maybe this is a little bit too optimistic goal because the people and companies are not yet willing to pay the bill for that. At least, from the political point of view, there is a will and we hope that is going to be a starting point for the new exercise regarding European funding for 2021. 

What do we need to do to prevent pollution and provide a healthier environment?

Reaching the zero-waste economic system can influence the reduction of pollution.

Almost 99.9% of everything we are using can be recycled or reused indefinitely. Every day we are running short of some of the most important resources, but we are not aware that those materials already exist in our landfills. We do not need to extract them from the Earth anymore. What we have to do is to reduce the consumption of finite resources through recycling and reusing. For example, there is an initiative to re-purpose used car batteries as storage banks for energy.

Read more about it on the link.

Another thing we can do to reduce pollution is to reach a society with a sustainable energy-based system. We can do that through the implementation of energy efficiency measures and the reduction of conventional resource-based energy (replacing coal, nuclear, and oil with solar, wind geothermal energy) along with the reduction of energy consumption. An example of a good practice regarding this topic is a wood processing plant from Dej Romania. They succeeded to reduce their carbon footprint per year by almost 30%.

Read more about it on the link.

What alternative sources of energy could we use? Is solar energy the answer?

How can we use solar energy?

Energy can be harnessed directly from the sun, even in cloudy weather. In a single hour, the amount of power from the sun that strikes the Earth is more than the entire world consumes in a year.

In other words, we need to store only one hour of solar energy to provide enough power for the yearly world consumption.

There are two main ways to generate solar power:

  1. Photovoltaic (PV), also called solar cells, are electronic devices that convert sunlight directly into electricity
  2. Concentrated solar power (CSP), uses mirrors to concentrate solar rays

Why is solar energy becoming more popular?

Many people worldwide are using solar energy for generating electricity or heating.

A home with solar panels can become self-sustaining if it does not rely on main electricity. You don’t need to think about raising the prices of electricity or dealing with bills, your solar panel provides you with all the power you need.

In conclusion, using solar energy brings both financial and environmental benefits for consumers.

What are the main doubts about solar energy?

There are some doubts that there is not enough surface area required to power the world by solar. But according to projections, in 2030. we will need to cover with solar panels only an area equal to Spain to power the whole world

Energy usage raises alarm signals for all of us regarding the economical, health system, and equally important consumption behavior. A study undertaken by Chicago University regarding pollution –the hidden killer, concluded that pollution costs us almost two years of our lives.

We live up to two years less because of the pollution.

The EU intends to reduce up to 50% of the CO2 emissions by the year 2030. Maybe this is a little bit too optimistic goal because the people and companies are not yet willing to pay the bill for that. At least, from the political point of view, there is a will and we hope that is going to be a starting point for the new exercise regarding European funding for 2021. 

 

www.landartgenerator.org

How can we store solar energy? There were mentioned initiatives to re-purpose used car batteries as storage banks for solar energy. This idea of reusing car batteries is even a better solution than recycling since we will win almost 40% of the energy in comparison to recycling all the materials of a car battery.

What are the other challenges with solar energy that circular economy can resolve?

▪ Materials for solar panel, cabling, racking, and mounting

▪ Rare earth (availability, global politics)

▪ End of life – recycling

The solar energy market has grown significantly in the last ten years. To sustain and stimulate this growth we will need a large volume of materials for solar panels, cabling, racking, and mounting. The circular economy can play a very important role to support this transition. Through the implementation of the circular economy, solar panels could be recycled at the end of their useful life since they contain rare and valuable materials.

Only in the EU the disposal of solar panels is subject to specific regulation. Global policies should be adopted in this area to prevent most solar panels from ending up in landfills.

The case of Greece: Circular Economy and Smart Specialization Strategy

The EU has set an ambitious plan for the adoption and implementation of the circular economy. The Plan estimates that by 2030 the integration of the circular economy will result in saving over 600 billion euros for EU businesses, will create 580,000 new jobs, and contribute to the reduction of 450 million tons of greenhouse gases.

Adopting the circular economy in each country should be aligned with its strategic documents and identified sectoral strengths and needs, set in the individual country’s Smart Specialization Strategies. Energy (sustainable and renewable energy, fuel technologies) is identified as one out of the 8 core sectors, where research and innovation can create a competitive advantage in the economy. The main lesson drawn from the Greek exercise is that the circular economy transition can be accelerated and become profitable while using the cross-referencing methodology of SSS and Circular Economy strategy. Goals should be adapted to the needs and competitive advantages of each country or region. This Greek strategy proves to be a very helpful tool in the endeavor to accelerate the passage from the linear to the circular economy.

In the previous webinar of the Beacons project, we tackled all of these topics along with much more. If you want to see the whole webinar, see the video below.

If you want to participate in our following free webinars, check our home page for more information or subscribe to our newsletter.

For any questions or concerns, you might have, don’t hesitate to ask us either through commenting on this story or by commenting on our YouTube channel. We would love to further discuss this topic with you.

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