Don't delay using technology to generate green energy

As fossil fuels are a finite resource, Singapore needs to actively look for alternative energy sources that could contribute to our power grid both now and in the future.

It is encouraging to read about the efforts put into the development of solar power as a form of renewable energy ('Energy islands' to harness sunlight; April 6).

There have been calls for an outright and worldwide ban on fossil fuels. But this is not likely to happen, so we need to mitigate the effects of burning fossil fuels.

One easy solution that has been put forth is to capture the carbon from the stacks of fossil fuel power plants.

This is not widely implemented currently because the subsequent storage of the captured carbon dioxide is not only expensive but also difficult and risky.

In his book Dawn Of The Solar Age, senior journalist Prem Shankar Jha suggested combining the captured carbon dioxide with hydrogen to make methanol or ethanol, which could then be used as fuel for vehicles.

Solar panels could be used to generate electricity to split water molecules and free the hydrogen atoms. The hydrogen can then be used for Mr Jha's proposed method.

Hydrogen on its own could also be a form of energy.

This is a promising piece of technology that could have the potential to reverse global warming. This is what Singapore must do.

The cost of generating the electricity, and hence, the tariff, would go up, but that can be solved by having government subsidies.

We cannot wait for the mechanism of the economy to come up with solutions for climate change. "Business as usual" is not going to make us energy efficient.

Since the technology exists, why don't we use it?

Lee Kay Yan (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 14, 2018, with the headline 'Don't delay using technology to generate green energy'. Print Edition | Subscribe