Chemical industry can help solve energy challenge - Dow CEO

01 February 2011 21:28  [Source: ICIS news]

PHILADELPHIA (ICIS)--The chemical industry can help solve the challenge of surging demand for energy worldwide by focusing on the key areas of power generation, infrastructure, transportation and construction, the chief executive of Dow Chemical said on Tuesday.

Global demand for energy will increase by 14% by 2035 and 70% by 2050 as the population grows and the people in emerging economies leave poverty, said Andrew Liveris, CEO of US-based Dow Chemical.

“In our transition to a low-carbon economy, we have an exciting, incredible opportunity to put new ideas, creativity and the might of chemistry to work,” said Liveris at the US kickoff event to celebrate the International Year of Chemistry (IYC) at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

“Let’s first go after the ‘low-hanging fruit’ in power generation, infrastructure, transportation and building and construction,” he added.

This includes increasing the energy efficiency and reducing the emissions of vehicles by using lighter materials such as plastics, as well as developing electric vehicles, Liveris said.

Tremendous energy savings can be achieved in buildings by simply using more insulation and sealing them properly, he noted.

“Most buildings are very inefficient. New energy efficient buildings can result in 30-40% energy-use reduction,” Liveris said.

The CEO is also an advocate of nuclear energy to meet future energy needs.

“Nuclear is a vital part of the solution. We need to see a breakthrough on the [government] policy side,” Liveris said.

Dow is the first global sponsor of the IYC, which has been designated by the United Nations (UN) as a worldwide celebration of the contributions of chemistry and its potential to solve the problems of the world.

“We have to seize this year to be advocates for change. The UN has given us a stage, and we must change the discussion to focus on solving the world’s challenges,” Liveris said.

“Our industry must insert itself into the public discourse and partner with government, the private sector, NGOs [nongovernmental organisations] and the academic community to solve challenges,” he added.

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By: Joseph Chang
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