Renewable Energy and the Circular Economy

Victor Lanckriet
2 min readFeb 7, 2021

Hi all and welcome back to the 13th episode of a Circular Victory! Last week we talked about the importance of data and the Circular Economy. We gave a few examples of how data is going to support the transition. We focused on two examples, Product Passports and Product as a Service. Product Passports allow comprehensive information to be transferred all along the supply chain about any particular product. The Product as a Service model often goes back to a Pay per Use system and therefore needs access to a lot of data in order to get pricing and maintenance right.

This week, we are going to talk about Renewable Energy. Renewable Energy will be an essential factor in transitioning to a truly Circular society.

Renewable Energy Sources

Renewable Energy and the Circular Economy

In order for our economy to become truly Circular, ALL aspects need to be Circular. That includes energy production. Our traditional energy sources, the so called “fossil fuels” are inherently linear. We can see the steps of “take, make, dispose” in the usage of fossil fuels. Think about oil as an example. We need to take it out of the earth, then refine it, before finally burning it in order to use the energy it produces. This follows the consumption pattern of a linear economy. Fossil fuels are also finite resources. While nature does create them, we consume it at a way faster rate than nature can replenish those resources. In addition, when the fossil fuels are being consumed, they also release greenhouse gasses that are harmful for the environment. These are gasses such as carbon dioxide and methane.

In that respect, nuclear energy is a bit better. It gives us the possibility to generate enormous amounts of energy, without creating greenhouse gasses. However, it is not a Circular solution. Nuclear waste is highly hazardous and needs to be “hidden away” for safety. It gets placed in all types of storage solutions, but they have one thing in common. The nuclear waste needs a long, long time before it is safe to dispose of. It might need up to 1000 years before it can be disposed of properly. This prevents it from becoming a Circular solution.

That’s why we need the Renewable Energy solutions. These are solutions such as solar and wind energy, as well as geothermal heat and others. They can be more broadly defined as energy sources which will be replenished within a “human timescale”. This means that the source for this energy will replenish within the duration of an average human’s lifetime. Having this type of energy production will allow transitioning to a truly Circular society.

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Victor Lanckriet

I did my masters thesis on the Circular Economy and am passionate about helping it become the accepted model of consumption in the future!