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Circular Economy and Renewable Energy

10/09/2020

Studio Victoria

3 minutes

In previous articles, we have already covered [What is Circular Economy](/blog/what-is circular-economy/ "What is Circular Economy") and Technology and Circular Economy. In this blog post we are going to be talking about Circular Economy and Renewable Energy and answering the following question: how can Renewable Energy benefit the Circular Economy? Keep reading to find out how Renewable Energy and Circular Economy can help you to #ONEUPYOURBUSINESS!

HOW CAN RENEWABLE ENERGY BENEFIT THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY?

Renewable Energy helps pave the way for a Circular Economy in terms of energy sources. The use of renewables like solar and wind energy are alternatives to fossil fuels and with the Circular Economy focussing on the reuse of raw materials together they allow for a sustainable future. Below we discuss the benefits Circular Economy can gain from Renewable Energy:

  • Cost-effective fossil fuel alternatives: due to the expense of fossil fuel, renewable sources are estimated to supply more than 60% of global electricity in 2050 because the costs of generating electricity from wind, solar and battery technologies are cheaper. The cost-effectiveness of renewable sources will enable a greener future and benefit the Circular Economy
  • Substituting materials: using renewable, secondary materials, and low carbon as alternatives can work the same but provide lower emissions. Replacing fossil fuels with renewable sources for examples: decarbonised electricity, biomass, and hydrogen can help to eliminate fossil fuel usage. Emissions that cannot be reduced through renewable energy technology and material productivity developments will go through procedures such as carbon capture and permanent storage where the remaining CO2 will be captured. Therefore, substituting materials will help the aim of achieving a Circular Economy by reducing global emissions
  • Reduced emissions: with 75% of global emissions from the transport sector the increase of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric vehicles are set to reduce emissions and help increase the life cycle of a vehicle to five to ten years
  • Shared, electrified and autonomous travel: powered renewable energy vehicles can provide less traffic reducing accidents, lower maintenance, less congestion, reduced travel time due to being designed for durability, reuse, stability, and in some vehicles with artificial intelligence processes. Improving the wellbeing and quality of life of people and helping to reduce air pollution
  • Recirculating materials: Reusing materials can help reduce waste and emissions for example, renewable energy powered vehicles can help decrease the removal of natural materials by 95% due to the extended vehicle lifetime and the reusing of materials and components helping to reduce landfill waste
  • Emerging technologies: new technologies are being developed to help decarbonisation by creating carbon-neutral energy systems that can convert leftover energy from renewables and store them for an extended period
  • Home heating and off-grid cooking: with the UK government having a target of reducing all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 companies like Pumped Heat are developing a heat storage unit by using renewable electrical energy. They can generate heat from electricity and offer home heating and off-grid solar cooking
  • Wind turbines: wind turbines have a recyclability rate of 85% to 90%. Improving the design of wind turbines can help extend the life of a turbine and its parts for more than 20 years and replace the non-recyclable materials to recycle materials for example non-toxic plastics or bio-based materials. An eco-design will improve carbon footprint, renewable energy usage and waste reductions as a few examples and help them to become 100% recyclable as we enter a circular economy
  • Renewable powered: many of the processes vital to a circular economy like remanufacturing and refurbishing can be powered by renewable electricity which in turn can also improve efficiency
  • Decarbonisation: the increase of wind and solar panels along with infrastructure of power generation and power grips will also help decarbonisation and enable consumers, businesses, and residents to access renewable energy and benefit from climate efforts

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