Moving towards a greener future

Technology has adapted to people’s demands for a better and more accessible life. Although these developments benefit society, they have neglected the circumstances of the environment, often compromising its overall quality.

Nowadays, when people talk about technology, they also consider its sustainability efforts in addition to its efficiency.

This consideration for green technologies has spread from private companies to public sectors, especially governments, to encourage more people to switch to sustainable technology.

Several companies and government agencies in the Philippines are already implementing green technologies in their day-to-day operations. Yet the thing about technology is that it never stops innovating, especially with new ideas being formed every day.

Advancing the country’s sectors

Apart from offering developments within the Philippine framework, various local governments are also partnering with their foreign counterparts to ensure maximum efficiency in order to increase the country’s production in various sectors.

Last May, the Ministry of Agriculture hosted a South Korea-based company to promote smart farming technologies in the country. The company believes that smart farms are “the future of mankind”. It prides itself on producing smart greenhouses that create an optimal environment for agricultural, animal and fish production.

The company specializes in high-tech greenhouses with a vertically integrated structure applicable to businesses, such as smart farms, plant factories, renewable energy and urban landscaping.

Former DA Secretary William Dar supported the promotion of smart agriculture in the Philippines, especially with food shortages and high demand to provide Filipinos with quality food and sustainable livelihoods. He advised the South Korean company to create a business model in the Philippines for members of the agricultural sector to experience a modern agricultural approach.

Having a fresh perspective on technology will allow stakeholders to discover areas where their industry needs development.

Meanwhile, several local businesses are also applying sustainable technologies of their own volition, especially those involved in sectors that significantly harm the environment.

A local steel company will soon operate the country’s first industrial-scale smelter in 2024, using the latest green technologies. The plant will use local scrap metal to produce high quality billets as raw material for buildings, port construction and shipbuilding, other projects.

The envisioned smelter will formalize and organize the collection, consolidation and recycling of scrap metal across the country, creating a commercial sub-sector providing opportunities for individuals and small businesses. It also aims to prevent the local government from spending dollars to import billets from foreign countries.

Several institutions have also harnessed the potential of research and development to scale up the implementation of sustainable technologies in the Philippines. For example, the University of Mindanao recently inaugurated its Center of Green Nanotechnology Innovations for Environmental Solutions (CGNIES), the first nanotechnology center in Mindanao funded by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development. (DOST-PCIEERD), through the Infrastructure Development Program (PDI).

The CGNIES will highlight sustainable approaches to developing nanomaterials from local resources and integrating them into micro and macro structures to develop technological solutions to environmental problems.

Additionally, it envisions developing sustainable, scalable, and cost-effective approaches to functional nanostructured materials while providing solutions that will benefit the environment and humanity.

Betting on energy alternatives

Any leader knows that a country needs energy to function properly. However, with only a limited resource for energy supply, the Philippines has yet to tap into the renewable sources that could sustain its long-term activities at no additional cost.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. recently spoke with companies based in the United States (USA) that deal with renewable energy.

He first met with senior executives from NuScale Power, an American energy company that provides advanced nuclear technology. It offers scalable state-of-the-art nuclear technology to produce electricity, heat and drinking water.

According to the researchers, nuclear energy is sustainable, with a chance of becoming renewable if the source of uranium changes from mined ore to seawater.

Marcos Jr. also met with WasteFuel, a California-based company that produces renewable fuels using proven technologies. The company hopes to address the climate emergency and revolutionize mobility by converting municipal and agricultural waste into low-carbon fuels, renewable natural gas and green methanol.

WasteFuel’s first development project for aviation fuel is in the Philippines.

Currently, the Philippines uses renewable energy sources, including hydroelectricity, geothermal and solar energy, wind energy, and biomass resources. However, few people recognize the potential of renewable energy, but the government hopes to change its perspective to benefit the community and the environment longer.

Creating a roadmap for a greener Philippines

The Philippines currently uses 30% renewable energy, but many sustainability advocates and organizations believe it can do better.

One of the steps the country can take is to define a “technology roadmap” towards its transition to clean energy. The Department of Energy (DOE) suggests Filipinos make the switch slowly by using environmentally friendly products. He notes the relevance of using transition fuels such as natural gas before switching to renewable energies and tapping into other resources, such as nuclear and hydrogen.

Although relatively clean, natural gas is not a renewable source. Malampaya Field, the Philippines’ only domestic fuel source, will face commercial exhaustion within several years. It comes at a worrying time, with global supplies tightening due to market disruptions, as most of the world weans off its dependence on Russian-sourced gas.

The DOE plans to introduce emerging technologies into the local energy mix, including nuclear and hydrogen. However, the jury is still out as the agency searches for more cost-effective options.

Besides switching to renewable energy, the local government, through its agencies, can launch campaigns to educate Filipinos about the benefits, usage and origins, sparking more interest and research into the resource for a home app.

Technology is always bringing new changes to society, with many of its developments benefiting the community for generations. As the country progresses as a significant player in the technology industry, its stakeholders are tapping into local and foreign ideas to promote sustainable technology in its sectors.

With a government mandate and private efforts, the Philippines is well on its way to transitioning the homegrown tech landscape that combines green efforts with smart advancements.

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