A New OPEC?!?
Maybe I’m too much of an idealist, but I like ideas that solve more than one problem at once. For example, stimulating the economy by investing in renewable energy: you stimulate the economy, you create jobs, you reduce our carbon emissions and you produce electricity.
On the flip side, I really don’t support ideas that seem to create more problems than they solve. A good example of that, in my humble opinion, is crop based biofuels. Yes, you produce fuel without extracting oil from the ground. However, that crop space is no longer being used to feed people which means less food and higher food prices. And when over 1 billion humans are starving, that seems like an extremely misguided idea.
However, using plant-based waste to make fuel, that starts to make more sense.
A research project called the Orange Peel Exploitation Company (OPEC – gettit?!?) is working on producing chemicals, materials and fuel from, you guessed it, orange peels from the juice industry. This idea makes sense form many reasons. First, the raw materials (orange peels) are the by product of an industry that is already in place. This means that you are reducing the amount of waste (probably) going to landfill and you are not affecting food production. Also, by using raw materials that are plant based, you are (potentially) reducing the carbon footprint of the fuel. The idea is that the carbon you emit by burning the fuel is offset by the carbon taken in by the orange tree as it grows (the best kind of carbon capture!).
Finally, I like this idea because it “closes a loop” by using one industry’s waste to power an other industry. And that is the kind of sustainable idea this world needs.
To read more about this project, click here.