Change lifestyle or pay a price, warn scientists

Muscat, Dec 4 – Change lifestyle or face consequences of CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions into the atmosphere, scientists have warned.
They were discussing the ‘Future of Energy’ at the Fourth Science and Technology Exchange Programme (STEP 4) among Muslim countries.
The event, organised by Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) and Mustafa Science and Technology Foundation, brought together scholars from around the world.
Dr Shaukat Hammed Khan, Coordinator General, OIC Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation, said while “renewable energy is gaining momentum, fossil fuels will have their place too”.
Speaking during a panel discussion on ‘Energy Transition: Situation of Renewable Energy’, he said: “The message is very simple: the quality of life depends entirely on the energy and the power you produce. It has to be available when we want it, and they should be affordable and sustainable.
“I don’t think fossil fuels are going anywhere soon. Renewable energy is coming in, but they account for only 11 per cent of the world’s generation capacity. To generate a larger amount, a huge amount of water and land is required,” he said.
Citing an example, Dr Khan said steel can be recycled. “How are we going to recycle solar panels?” Prof Kamaruzzaman Sopian said energy efficiency should improve in parallel with the increasing use of renewable energy.
“We ought to tap into strong synergies between energy efficiency and renewable energy. Plan a power sector for which renewables provide a high share of the energy and increase use of electricity in transport, construction and industry,” suggested Prof Sopian.
Prof Mohammed Farid urged, “Do not use biofuel if it is based on food. The third generation of biofuel we are working on is algae-based.”
According to him, use of hydro-thermal processing for pretreatment of algae to extract its content is efficient as it is done in the liquid stage and no drying is required. “However, it requires a high capital cost.” Most of the speakers emphasised on the increased use of renewable energy to reduce CO2 emissions and prevent rise in temperatures around the world.
Prof Khaled ben Letaif, Prof Jackie Ying, 2015 Mustafa Prize laureate in bio-nanotechnology; and Prof Amin Shokrollahi, 2015 Mustafa Prize laureate in information theory, shared their success stories.
SQU students presented their papers.
Eighty people from 20 countries and 200 people from Oman are taking part in the conference, which also featured 12 participants from the Mustafa Foundation’s Young Scholars competition.

Lakshmi Kothaneth