Why Solar: Canada needs to get its collective house in order

Canada needs to get a grip. The country has one of the world’s largest collections of natural resources. We have abundant forests, fresh water, minerals, diamonds, precious metals, and hydrocarbon resources. Despite these assets, one “debt clock” gauging Canada’s federal debt indicates $1,229,623,089,804 and increasing by $950 per second. As of January 01, 2019 the country’s population is at 37,267,630, this calculates to each citizen’s share of this debt at just under $33 000.

Stats Canada’s, General Government Gross Debt, a quarterly listing, reports the “Debt” as of July 2018 as 2.407 trillion dollars (includes foreign and domestic). Canada’s GDP in 2017 was some 2 .01 trillion, and at that time the IMF listed our national debt as just shy of 90% of GDP.

While politicians hide behind rhetoric and grandiose theatrical performances in our nation’s capital, the country, despite its rich resource base is, by many different accounts going down through the seat of that remnant of a bygone age, the proverbial out-house. National bankruptcy is fact; Iceland, Japan, and Venezuela have all seen the fist of economic tragedy come crashing down to cause financial devastation. The actuality is real and ever-present.

We elected our representatives, therefore “we” have to make them take into account our concerns, or replace them. If we are unable to benefit from the constitutional guarantees of Confederation then how are we to fund innovation and technological advancement? While our leaders are playing in the sandbox of political futility and patting themselves on the back for imagined accomplishments, the world is rapidly leaving us behind.

Example Belgium, scientists there have recently announced a breakthrough in

hydrogen production technologies. The device they have developed is for the homeowner, the average citizen. Using solar energy, the machine will produce on average 250 litres (66 gallons) of hydrogen daily. The product is stored in underground tanks at a pressure of 400 bar (5800 psi). This stored “green fuel” will be used to supply the entire household’s electricity and heating needs.

The energy of the sun, once stored as hydrogen, is available for use when needed. With a well-insulated home, sensible use of LED lighting and associated energy savings technology, even the supply of fuel for transportation is now in the realm of possibilities. Professor Johans Martens and his team from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, in Leuven, Flanders, Belgium, plan to have an operating prototype field verified in the town of Oud- Heverlee. Over the next two years, they intend to focus on testing the unit with the ultimate goal of commercialization.

Hydrogen is being considered by scientific and technical schools around the world. It is one more piece of ammunition in the effort to supply all the citizens of the world with adequate energy while at the same time mitigating the adverse effects of hydrocarbon.

Canada has the intellectual aptitude and extreme technical abilities needed to diversify, but do we have the pecuniary intellect to forestall the destruction of the economy before we get our collective house in order?

Lorne Oja can be reached at lorne@carbon2solar.com

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