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Title [Korea Joongang Daily] Microbes are seen as new ‘blue energy’ source 2017.06.19

FROM: Korea Joongang Daily

[Korea Joongang Daily - June. 19, 2016]



Microbes are seen as new ‘blue energy’ source



Younghoon David Kim, chief executive officer of Daesung Group and chairman of the World Energy Council, at his office in Insa-dong, central Seoul. Kim and Daesung Group are hosting a conference Thursday on microbial fuel cells as an energy resource. [PARK SANG-MOON]


Daesung Group, a Korean conglomerate specializing in the energy business, including city gas and renewable energy, celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. To mark the anniversary, the company will host an energy conference under the theme of “Mighty Microbes for the Energy Revolution.”


Younghoon David Kim, chairman and CEO of Daesung, says microorganisms may hold the last piece of puzzle in providing sustainable energy sources. For this reason, Kim has chosen microbes as the focus for the conference.


Kim also is chairman of the United Nations-accredited energy body World Energy Council. He is the second person from Asia to head the London-based organization, which was founded in 1923.


“I believe my appointment as the head of the council is a part of what we call ‘Grand Energy Transition’,” Kim said Wednesday at his office in Insadong, central Seoul. “The global energy industry is moving away from being resource-based and capital intensive to knowledge- and technology-based, as humanity searches for sustainable energy sources.”


Kim believes in the next few decades, humans will be less reliant on fossil fuels and will turn to other energy supplies. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said in a recent report that, “[Oil’s] relative weight [in the global energy consumption] will decline in the next decades. By the 2030s, oil is expected to drop below 28 percent. A similar trend is expected for coal.” Major oil exporters such as Saudi Arabia have begun seeking industrial diversification. Saudi Arabia’s state-run project is titled Vision 2030 and Korean companies including automakers and shipbuilders are participating in the initiative.


The WEC chairman also emphasized that humanity is facing energy crisis. He said a concept called the Energy Trilemma, which refers to energy security, sustainability and equity, can simplify this crisis. “While we are looking for ways to overcome the trilemma, we have yet to find the optimal solution,” said Kim. “We need a place where scientists and experts can get together to discuss policies and technologies that take all three issues into consideration.”





BY CHOI HYUNG-JO [choi.hyungjo@joongang.co.kr]


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