Developing promising energy sourcesConversion to renewable energy systems is becoming an unavoidable change. The International Renewable Energy Agency announced last year that the renewable energy generation capacity increased by 8.7 percent last year and produced over 2,000 gigawatts. In the global total energy generation, renewables nake up more than 30 percent already, and by the year 2040, it is expected to reach 50 percent, according to the International Energy Agency.
It is certain that renewable energy will rapidly replace fossil fuel, but there are still issues to be resolved. While the production cost using solar cells and other methods is getting lower, the investment for initial facilities is still expensive. Also, the energy production is not consistent, and when portion of renewable energy increases, we would have to rely on a large electricity storage system (ESS) to secure a stable supply. The cost to install ESS is known to be triple the cost of power generation.
One of the new promising energy sources is bio energy. Microorganisms can live in various environments, and it has been found that they can produce bio energy in extreme environments with high temperature, high pressure and no oxygen. As they can use sunlight, carbon dioxide and nitrogen as energy sources, we can expect environmental purification effect along with energy production.
Decades ago, solar energy had belonged to labs, but today, it has become an economically feasible energy source today. Microorganism energy has great potential. If government’s policy assistance and private investment on research and development become more active, we can speed up resource development using microorganisms.
Daesung Group is celebrating its 70th anniversary by hosting an international conference on the possibilities of resolving energy, water and food problems using microorganisms. Korean and international experts will be invited to discuss latest bio technologies and possibility of securing the resources of the future.
The energy industry is transforming into a technology-concentrated industry from capital-concentrated industry. Korea has the technological upper hand, and has a great chance to become an energy power. When the Korean energy industry actively occupies the global market, it will be another great leap.
*Chairman and CEO of Daesung Group and chair of the World Energy Council.