[LETTERS to the editor]We must find options to petroleumBecause of the tension in Arab countries and the drying up of petroleum resources everyday, the price of oil is soaring. As of today, the estimated oil reserve will last only 40 years.
However, the amount of oil that people in the world are using is increasing steadily, and if this continues, there will be a serious disturbance in the world, according to the view of oil experts.
Our world is facing a few big problems, including limitations to the oil reserve and serious pollution throughout the world, due to the consumption of fossil fuels.
I believe finding a substitution for petroleum resource is becoming urgent. Already, many countries have started developing alternative energy that can be regenerated, and because it is bio-environmental, it does not harm nature. There are some countries producing this energy successfully.
For example, the country, Indonesia where I live right now, continues announcing enormous amounts of investment in bio-diesel, which is a future alternative energy.
Indonesia is lotting out their vast unused lands to palm oil companies for palm tree plantation and allowed 15 foreign and domestic companies to invest 600 million dollars.
The Indonesian government set a goal that by 2015 they will turn10% of the petroleum oil into bio-diesel.
The advantage of bio-diesel is it can be regenerated, and because it is from natural plants, almost no pollution occurs. Furthermore, because the price of bio-diesel is much less than petroleum oil, it is competitive economically.
So far, technologically the most advanced country in bio-diesel is Germany. They’re already producing and also distributing 100% natural plant diesel, and some other countries are producing bio-diesel by mixing natural plant diesel and petroleum diesel at a 4:6 rate. Corn, sugar cane and palm oil can be used as raw materials for bio-diesel, and into these raw materials, they add catalyzers to process the bio-diesel.
As I see great interest and already highly advanced technology in Germany, Indonesia, one of the oil producing countries and some other countries, I had to think about my homeland, Korea with anxiety.
Korea depends on Arab countries for more than 95% of its oil, and when the price of oil goes up, it impacts Korea greatly.
The government and all the firms and factories get alarmed and don’t know how to manage the situation. The Korean government plans to put up to 5% of its petroleum energy into re-generating energy by 2012, but the total amount invested amount from the Korean government through 2004 was less than the Japanese government invested in only a single year.
As Korea is a leading country in science, we ought to raise many elites in diverse scientific fields.
In this way, Korea can transform from a country lacking in natural resources into a technologically strong country.
In times of high oil prices, finding a substitute energy for petroleum becomes inevitable, and the country which finds it first will become one of the most powerful countries in the next generation.
by Hwang In-beom