Ask your burning energy questions

Readers of Eco-Business with burning questions related to energy now have the chance to get their questions answered by some of the world’s leading energy experts.

For a second year running, Eco-Business is partnering with the Global Energy Prize to run a series of commentaries that will be shaped by readers’ questions.

Global energy challenges provide fertile ground for lively debate on some of the world’s most pressing issues.

During last year’s series, for instance, readers demanded to know why governments were still trying to push specific renewable energy technologies rather than putting a price on pollution and letting the market choose the most efficient ways to provide energy. This is still a timely topic, going by the increased lobbying happening in the Philippines to determine which renewable energies receive the largest share of feed-in tariffs.

Global Energy Prize panel judge Tom Blees argued, pre-Fukushima, that the only way to provide sufficient energy was to delve into new nuclear technologies, combined with plasma converters that can neutralise hazardous waste.

Since that time, Japan’s nuclear disaster has caused significant nuclear policy changes from several national governments, including Japan, Germany and Taiwan.

Other readers wanted to know what was keeping hydrogen from supplying vast amounts of energy, or how to make societies see the ‘big picture’ and adapt to more energy efficient lifestyles.

What will it be this year? Can we really make recycling programmes obsolete by blasting our garbage with plasma lasers? Just how much can we lower our energy demand through energy efficiency?

The panellists

The award-winning scientists on the panel provide a global perspective on a wide range of topics that directly affect Asia, for example, renewable energy industries, national energy policies and climate science. They are all members of the International Award Committee chosen to determine this year’s Global Energy Prize.

Harry Fair (USA) is the Founding Director of the Institute for Strategic and Innovative Technologies, the former Director of Institute for Advanced Technology at The University of Texas and the President of Fair Oaks Plasma, Inc. He has co-authored over 200 technical publications and is the senior editor of fifteen Proceedings of the International Symposia on Electromagnetic Launch Technology. Dr Fair is an International Award Committee member for the Global Energy Prize.

Tom Blees (USA) is a nuclear power strategist and pro-nuclear environmentalist, and a member of the International Award Committee for the Global Energy Prize. He is also the president of The Science Council for Global Initiatives and the author of Prescription for the Planet – The Painless Remedy for Our Energy & Environmental Crises. Blees has been a consultant and advisor on energy technologies at international, national and state levels.

Thorsteinn Sigfusson (Iceland) is a pioneer of the energy research in Iceland, President of Icelandic New Energy Ltd., Chairman of the thermoelectric company Genery-Varmaraf Ltd. and Professor of physics at the University of Iceland. He has been a key figure in the introduction of new ideas and opportunities in the further greening of Icelandic society through the energy industry. Dr Sigfusson was awarded Global Energy Prize in 2007 for his extensive work in the development and research in the field of hydrogen energy generation in Iceland.

Barry Brook (Australia) is a leading environmental scientist, holding the Sir Hubert Wilkins Chair of Climate Change at the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, and is also Director of Climate Science at the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute. He has received a number of distinguished awards for his research excellence (including the Australian Academy of Science Fenner Medal) and was awarded the 2010 Community Science Educator of the Year for his public outreach activities. Professor Brook is an International Award Committee member for the Global Energy Prize.

About The Global Energy Prize

The Global Energy Prize is one of the world’s most respected awards in energy science, awarding over US$1million every year for outstanding energy achievements and innovations.

Thus far, the Prize has been granted to 24 scientists from around the globe, including past Laureates from the US, Great Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Iceland, Ukraine, Russia, and Japan. The President of the Russian Federation participates in each year’s award ceremony held at the conclusion of a week-long celebration of the awardees’ work, Laureates’ Week.  Other world leaders who have supported the prize include the former US President George W. Bush, former British Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, former French President Jacques Chirac and current Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper.

The Global Energy Prize rewards innovation and solutions in global energy research and its concurrent environmental challenges. The degree to which a development contributes to the benefit of humanity is a key driver in deciding the recipient of the Prize.

The deadline for submitting questions has passed. Watch for a series of articles from Global Energy Prize panellists in response to readers’ questions.

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