If we are to achieve our aims of reversing greenhouse gas pollution, and of drought-proofing Australia, then we must encourage the development in Australia of new skills and products for our local and for export markets. We have already established the feasibility of some energy-saving products, by trial installations of imported items, and could encourage the local manufacture of many products with a minimum of risk.
Where efficient and appropriate designs already exist, then we should encourage overseas manufacturers to establish Australian operations. Where there is no existing source, then we should encourage local research and development, and local manufacture. We need to add value to our physical resources.
At the same time, although we regard Australia as the "clever country", we must accept that our population is no more intelligent than that of any other country, perhaps just fortunate to have the benefit of an excellent education. By definition, the average IQ of the adult population is 100. At least one-half may not aspire to a university degree, become a research scientist, or a brain surgeon, or a brilliant musician. In building our future industrial base, we must provide opportunities for job satisfaction for all.
We are wasting one of our most valuable resources, by burning high quality coal in power stations. It is the single largest cause of global warming, avoidable only with an incredible burden of carbon dioxide sequestration. However, we cannot ignore the energy needs of the developing countries, nor can we afford to shut-down our coal mining industry.
While we are developing less harmful methods of power generation, we should change our uses for coal to produce added-value products such as carbon fibre, gasoline, diesel fuel, lubricating oils, natural gas, hydrocarbons, plastics etc. In this way we could avoid redundancies in the industry, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce our dependency upon oil imports.
Automatic Weather Stations
There are existing measurements of wind speed and solar radiation which were gathered by the Postmaster General's Department in the 60's, in preparation for the introduction of microwave repeaters and co-axial cable systems, between the capital cities. While this data will be of assistance in selecting suitable sites for wind and solar power generators, it is scant for most of rural Australia and must be of doubtful value once existing weather patterns are changed by global warming.
The existing data collection services should be expanded by adding inexpensive low-power unattended weather stations, which report limited accumulated data only, e.g. wind speed, rainfall, and solar radiation, perhaps daily or weekly.
Salvaged oils, fats, vegetable oils etc may be converted into diesel fuel which, when used to power i.c. engines produces less carbon dioxide emission than fossil fuels. (South Australia has an unused fuel terminal, at Port Stanvac, which could be re-commissioned as a bio-fuel refinery and ethanol plant.)
Choosing the most efficient source for the region, a variety of plant products may be converted economically into ethanol and used to power i.c. engines. Brazil uses up to 85% ethanol blended motor fuel and exports ethanol to the U.S. Up to 50% of Brazil's sugar crop is used to produce ethanol.
Many organic waste materials may be converted into methanol and ethanol.
Composting toilets may be installed to avoid the contamination of ground water by human waste. No water is added. Liquid is removed by evaporation through a tall exhaust pipe. The bin, which collects the solid waste and converts it into compost, is exchanged when nearly full, and the contents are added to other organic waste to produce a soil-improving compost.
No sewerage system, and no sewage treatment plant, is required.
In disaster relief operations, composting toilets may be installed rapidly, to prevent the spread of disease. As no support infrastructure system is required, the capital cost including installation expense is less than that of conventional sewerage systems.
A wide range of fuels, e.g. hydrogen, methane, methanol, ethanol etc, may be combined with oxygen in a fuel cell, at room temperature, in the presence of a suitable catalyst. The energy liberated by the chemical reaction is converted into electrical energy. Fuel cells may be used in any application for which a chemical battery would be suitable, e.g. low- to medium-power electricity generation, electric transportation. They continue to operate as long as the fuel supply is connected and air (i.e. the oyygen source) is available. The life of the catalyst is determined by the type and purity of the fuel source.
A recent German development of a high temperature ceramic fuel cell provides unusually high efficiency. It may use methane or natural gas as fuel. The device has been incorporated into a module, to generate domestic power and hot water supply.
Some other potential market opportunities for Australia include:-
Solar Photovoltaic Panels
Recent television advertisements promote "the only Australian manufactured solar panels". Why should this be so, when there are obvious benefits in reducing transport costs by manufacturing in this country? The manufacturing process is seen to be highly automated, so labour costs should not prevent competitive production.
Are the solar cells which are assembled into panels imnported, or are we growing and processing semiconductor-grade silicon crystals in Australia? Again, these goods are barely touched by hand, and can be competitively manufactured in any developed country.
Transportable Non-polluting Water Purification/Desalination Plants
Within Australia, all currently installed desalination plants use the reverse osmosis process. They occupy a large area of land, are power-hungry, use expensive and delicate semi-permeable filters, require extensive maintenance, and produce large amounts of waste brine which harm the marine environment.
We should consider plants for desalination by distillation, which have a small footprint, use one-half as much energy (which can be waste heat or solar energy), have no delicate filters, require little maintenance and have a service life in excss of 25 years, and produce solid salt as a valuable by-product. The Passarell CVES Process, of W.D.I. Inc., is one examnple of an energy efficient design.
Diesel IC Engines
Electric Traction Motors
Electrically-powered Commuter Vehicles
Carbon-Fibre Reinforced Plastic Panels
Wind Power Generators
Power Controllers for Electric Traction Systems
Power Controllers for Battery Chargers
Power Controllers for Solar Photovoltaic Generators
Power Controllers for Wind Generators
Single- and Multi-Phase Power Inverters
Pack-Flat Accommodation Modules
Re-Cycled Plastic Furniture
Uranium Enrichment Centrifuges
Laser Uranium Enrichment Plants
Ship/Barge Mounted Nuclear Power Stations
Non-Portable Nuclear Power Stations
Remotely-Controlled Handling Equipment for Fuel Rod Re-Processing
Solar Thermal Power Stations
Solar Photovoltaic Power Stations
Solar Water Heaters
Peltier Effect Air Conditioners & Refrigerators
Fuel Rod Assemblies for Nuclear Power Stations
Engineering Real-Time Software Design
Remote Control & Supervisory Equipment
Data Logging Equipment