We are not going to run out of oil there are still many billions of barrels of oil
trapped beneath the surface, we will be unable to afford the financial or environmental costs to extract it. Burning
fossil fuel has had an effect on the increased amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which has lead to climate change.
The world is heavily dependant on fossil fuels for energy to power all aspects of our lives including food production,
as the price of oil increases so does the food and utilities. The energy crisis we have been experiencing has been
brewing, we placed ourselves into the pot of cold water and turned the heat up. The temperature has been increasing
and we have only just started to feel uncomfortable. It is time to get out before we are cooked in our skins because
we have left it too long.
Like food and water, if energy was suddenly unavailable to people in the developed
world there would be many deaths and a good percentage of those would be from lack of food. It is possible to continue
life without oil and since 1990 Cuba is a prime example of what life would be like with no oil.
The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990 saw cuba's economy
grind to a halt. An immediate reduction oil imports by half and food imports by a staggering 80% resulted in extreme
hardship for many. Reliant on a highly mechanized, industrial agricultural system Cubans struggle to rebuild their society converting
ever available open space to grow food and relearning essential skills used prior to global reliance on fossil fuel.
Now, Cuba is highly regarding in the study of options for food and energy beyond the use of fossil fuels. To find out
more about how Cuba survived their peak oil crisis a popular video "The Power of Community - How Cuba survived Peak Oil".
iSustainable is researching new energy innovations to find better alternatives for energy
supply for business and private individuals.
Man had developed technology to harness the wind dating back to the 11th
century and although ancient a good number of windmills still exist, a few have been completely restored and used to process
organic food. Now there are different ways that man is harnessing wind power and these are built from different materials
and connected to turbines to create electricity. The invention of the windmill was preceded by water and animal power
and was phased out by the more predictable power of steam in the 17th century.
Using a method called the photovoltaic process the suns energy is captured
as it excites electrons within solar cells in a solar panel where electricity in the form of a direct current (DC) is produced.
For most common purposes the DC electricity is unusable and needs to be converted into alternating current (AC) power by a
solar inverter. After conversion the power can be used just like conventional power for household or business requirements.
In most situations solar power is connected to the grid (city infrastructure already providing fossil fuel power) and excess
power is sold back to the electricity company in the form of rebates which can save the owner money and in some cases even
make a small profit depending on the usage. More recently stand alone units that produce their own power and store additional
power in deep cycle batteries are a common option for people in rural and remote areas. Australia with its hot centre
could produce solar power for the whole country if set up correctly.
The use of water to power hydroelectric systems where a dam is built and
water is released slowly back into the system and power is generated by the high pressure of water delivered to turbines.
There are financial and ecological costs for these types of constructions as the dams need to be build very high to hold the
large amounts of water and up stream ecosystems need to be able to store massive amounts of water and down stream needs to
be able to cope with a large reduction in water availability. It is not always possible to install such as system but
currently 20% of the worlds power is generated in this way.
Research into other alternative power sources mostly
based in physics may in the future be harnessed and iSustainable is monitoring some of these innovations with anticipation.
In the mean time methane plants collecting gas from food waste or animal manures are being used in Europe and around the world.
Compost water heaters where water and heat is extracted from the heat generated in a compost pile is another great alternative
were the compost reuses waste material and once spent can be used to grow food with. We need to encourage and motivate
our inventors and entrepreneurs to review low tech, zero emission processes that can deliver affordable clean energy to the
iSustainable is a 100%
indigenous owned and certified 'Supply Nation' supplier