China, Technology, Innovation and the Environment: Part II
An energy structure with a low utilization rate, and an economic growth mode with serious, hazardous emissions have posed stark challenges for the sustained growth of Chinese economic society. Faced with such a grave situation in energy saving and emission reduction, Chinese scientific and technological personnel will push forward technological innovation in an all-round way.
More than 6,000 science, technology workers, as well as scientist-turned-entrepreneurs on met recently to discuss issues such as energy saving and environmental protection. Among them were more than 100 members from Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE), the highest palaces for scientific research achievements and engineering progress.
While addressing opening of the annual conference of China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) in Wuhan, the most important industrial city in central China, CAST Chairman Han Qide said resource and environmental factors had become two prominent problems hampering social and economic development in China.
For a period of time ahead, the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology will make active, dedicated efforts with other related government departments to press ahead with work in several major fields, so as to provide a strong, technical prop for energy saving and emission reduction in the country.
Arcaic and polluting industries will receive stricts guidelines toward energy savings: China recently published the nation’s first energy-saving standards for cement manufacturing plants to further increase the industry’s energy efficiency.
Published by the Ministry of Construction, the standards covered every aspect of cement manufacturing, including plant construction, manufacturing technology, power systems and equipment use. Some articles are compulsory.
The standards are a part of the End-Use Energy Efficiency Program of the Chinese government, run in cooperation with the United Nations Development Program. The project aims to dramatically improve the efficiency of China’s major energy users: commercial and residential buildings, and heavy industries, such as iron, steel, cement and petrochemicals.
“By using the new standards, cement plants can reduce energy use by about 15 percent,” Vice-Chairman of the China Cement Association Zeng Xuemin said
The development of rural China is also pressing the energy consumption. In 2006, energy consumption in China’s rural areas amounted to about 900 million tons of standard coal, or one quarter of the total commodity energy consumption in the country, so the task for energy conservation and emission reduction in the Chinese countryside is very grave. At present, the rural areas in China yield more than 4 billion tons of farm throwaways, including 2.6 billion tons of human and livestock excrement and some 700 million tons of straw each year.
This means a big source of pollution as well as a great resource of biological materials. So it is imperative for China to step up its effort to develop biogas and other new rural energy sources by making an all-round use of rural throwaways with advanced cycle economy technologies.
Urbanization is another challenge. By 2020, with its urban population expected to exceed 900 million, China will have to handle the demands of its cities and all varieties of emissions in the country are very great. So, the country should acquire as fast as it can the advanced, appropriate technical-how in such major spheres as urban development and building materials, the all-round use of urban wastes, garbage power generation, public transport and communication, and car exhaust, and the establishment of urban monitoring networks for energy saving and emission reduction should be hastened.