Plan B with Carli: Renewable and non-renewable resources

Plan B with Carli: Renewable and non-renewable resources

On the fifth edition of our monthly program ‘Plan B’, Carli yarned to Dr Liyuan Fan, Lecturer of Chemical Engineering at JCU: James Cook University, Australia about renewable and non-renewable resources like coal, plastics and aluminium!

Some of the interesting facts were;

๐Ÿš—๐Ÿš€ Fuel is derived from coal, or crude oil, which is actually the product of decaying plant and other matter!๐ŸŒณ๐ŸŽ‹ It takes millions of years to form. When we use it in our cars it is released as CO2 (Carbon Dioxide), and this is why we call it a ‘non-renewable resource’. Dr Liyuan explains that our Earths Resources are being depleted faster than they are or can be replenished, and this is one of the reasons why it is important we find alternatives to fuel.

๐Ÿƒ๐ŸŒฑ Dr Liyuan Fan also explained that while some of these emissions are absorbed by nature, they cannot all be absorbed.โ˜ข Liyuan says there is technology called ‘Carbon Storage’, which is the capture of and storage of carbon underground (usually found at power plants), where carbon is stored underground at high temperatures lessening the burden on nature. However this makes a small impact and takes even longer to form fuels, it is not an overall solution.

โ™ป๐ŸŒฟ Our everyday plastics too are sometimes derived from crude oils. But they can also be made through the dehydration of ethanol (derived from plants also), which is much quicker to produce and has less environmental impact. Plastics are easily recycled.

โ™ป๐ŸŒ Aluminium (the tins we buy in the supermarket or drink soft drinks from), makes up about 8 percent of the Earths crust! It is a highly recyclable material, and around 70 percent of the aluminium that has been mined is STILL in use today! ๐Ÿ”Œโšก Manufacture of this type of packaging requires high energy consumption however and is usually produced in countries where energy is plentiful.

โšกโ˜๐Ÿ”ฅ Liyuan also tells me about ‘Gassifying’, a method being used to turn waste into electricity and heat – see the attached image she has provided of a Gassifier she worked on in the Netherlands

๐Ÿค”โ“Food for thought; a receipt/transport ticket takes 2 wks to decompose, an orange or apple peel take 6 months, milk cartons take 5 years, aluminium cans take 750 years, batteries take 100 years and contain contaminants deadly to our environment, plastic bottles (PET 1) take 450 years