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Technical Lecture: - “Climate Change and Renewable Energy – The solutions and their problems”

On the evening of Tuesday 28th January we met at Glyndwr University for an excellent talk by David Sprake, an expert in renewable energy. The evening started with refreshments, laid on by the university. We then proceeded to the Nick Whitehead lecture theatre for the talk.

David started by outlining the background to climate change, why it was happening and some of its consequences. He painted a picture of a population increasing at an incredible rate, combined with that huge population demanding significant amounts of energy. As David explained energy originates with the Sun, much of this is locked up in Fossil fuels. For many years we have been burning these fuels as a means making use of this stored energy, leading directly to a build up of Greenhouse Gasses in the atmosphere.

He went onto to explain about the nature of Greenhouse gases and how they lead to heating of the planet. The most significant of these, though not the only one, is Carbon Dioxide. It was interesting, and sobering to learn that humans can adapt better to being too cold than to being too warm.

David then discussed 3 types of renewable energy, Wind, Solar and Hydro. He explained how these technologies had progressed in recent times both in terms of efficiency and cost. In each case David outlined how these technologies could assist in producing energy without the harmful effects of Greenhouse gas. He also discussed a range of Carbon Capture systems as a means of removing Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere.

David concluded by addressing the question “could our energy demands be met by renewable energy that would not generate Greenhouse Gas”. His answer (happily) was “Yes”, and he gave a detailed explanation of how this could be done.

The main obstacle David explained was Cost and Political Will. He explained that the costs are very significant and also how vested interests, especially from the Fossil Fuel industry were likely to impede progress.

There then followed a lively Question and Answer session

It was an excellent evening with very positive feedback

A big THANK YOU to David and of the others involved

John Pollard

I.Mech.E. Regional Chairman – Merseyside and N Wales

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