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Florida in position to take a national lead on alternative energy say experts

Driscoll said the ocean energy has the potential to supply the world's energy demands thousands of times over, significantly reducing greenhouse gases within 10 years, and long-term, creating thousands of jobs for a highly skilled work force, changing the state from an energy importer to energy exporter. Research must still be done to determine the impact on sea life, he added.

Florida has a chance to quickly take a national lead in the alternative energy market, researchers and industry officials said Monday as the 2007 Alternative Energy Summit opened at the Jupiter Beach Resort.

And the nation needs to shift its primary source of energy for its security and economic future, said U.S. Rep. Tim Mahoney, D-Palm Beach Gardens, who led the summit.

"We are now in a situation where we can never be held hostage by countries that control our energy, who are out for our demise, we have to be bold, we have to be resolute," Mahoney said. "At the end of the day, biofuels and alternative energies are not the only solution but part of the solution. We've got to make investments in all areas."

A big part of the conversion is to convince investors on the positives of the alternative energies that can be produced in Florida, he said.

The summit was to designed to identify the role Florida can play in developing alternative energy.

Eric Wachsman, an associate professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Florida, said that while solar and nuclear power are needed to help bridge any endeavor to convert the nation to hydrogen power, biomass - citrus,... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Florida has a chance to quickly take a national lead in the alternative energy market, researchers and industry officials said Monday as the 2007 Alternative Energy Summit opened at the Jupiter Beach Resort.

And the nation needs to shift its primary source of energy for its security and economic future, said U.S. Rep. Tim Mahoney, D-Palm Beach Gardens, who led the summit.

"We are now in a situation where we can never be held hostage by countries that control our energy, who are out for our demise, we have to be bold, we have to be resolute," Mahoney said. "At the end of the day, biofuels and alternative energies are not the only solution but part of the solution. We've got to make investments in all areas."

A big part of the conversion is to convince investors on the positives of the alternative energies that can be produced in Florida, he said.

The summit was to designed to identify the role Florida can play in developing alternative energy.

Eric Wachsman, an associate professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Florida, said that while solar and nuclear power are needed to help bridge any endeavor to convert the nation to hydrogen power, biomass - citrus, sugar cane and vegetation - is where Florida can take a lead.

"Florida has the technology and therefore has the most to gain if we lead in sustainable energy," he said. "Florida has the resources and science/technological expertise to be a leader. All it needs are the bold vision and financial resources to make that potential a reality."

The state has 15 million acres of forest land, 10 million acres of farmland, 10 percent of the potential biomass resources in the nation.

"It would be a darn shame if we didn't use it," Wachsman said.

Rick Driscoll, associate professor at Florida Atlantic University's Department of Ocean Engineering in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, said Florida is best suited to harness thermal energy from the ocean and through underwater turbines, similar to wind turbines, to capture ocean currents.

"It's clean, there are no emissions and it can generate power any time," he said.

Driscoll said the ocean energy has the potential to supply the world's energy demands thousands of times over, significantly reducing greenhouse gases within 10 years, and long-term, creating thousands of jobs for a highly skilled work force, changing the state from an energy importer to energy exporter.

Research must still be done to determine the impact on sea life, he added.

Lonnie Ingram, professor of microbiology at the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, said the state can become the nation's top producer of biomass. However, he cautioned that there isn't enough biomass to replace existing gas demands and that there are consequences of rushing out to replace oil with citrus and woodland refuse.

"We can use all the land to produce reusable fuels," Ingram said. "We have to ensure any development to make reusable fuel doesn't impact the food industry."

Mahoney said Congress has to find partners to help in funding due to the commitments to the war in Iraq and homeland security.

 


Source: http://www.tcpalm.com/news/...

AUG 28 2007
https://www.windaction.org/posts/10842-florida-in-position-to-take-a-national-lead-on-alternative-energy-say-experts
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