First Annual SEE Symposium a Great Success
Oct. 10, 2010 (or 10/10/10) was a special day for many people, but for the faculty, staff and guests of the School of Environment and Energy (SEE) it was particularly special; it was the celebration of SEE's first birthday, a day to look forward to the school's strong future.
The First Annual Symposium was SEE's birthday present. Representatives from all three sectors affiliated with green energy and sustainable practices, academic, corporate and government, attended and the school was honored with many distinguished guests, including Zhang Yonghong, Vice-President of Peking University Shenzhen Graduate Campus; Prof. Winston Ko, Dean of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, University of California at Davis; Dr. Carl Kukkonen, CEO of VIASPACE, Inc.; Prof. Eric Lam of Rutgers University; Hu Jin, Nanshan District CCP Minister of Organization; Chen Kanghou, Nanshan District CPPCC Vice-President and Nanshan District Science and Technology Association Executive Vice-President; Junichi Doi, President of Daiwa Chemical Industry Co., Ltd.; Xiao Xin, Assistant Director of Process Engineering at the Chinese Academy of Science and senior visiting scholar at Princeton University; and Chen Xianmei, Shenzhen Trade and Industry Committee Member.
Dean Geng began the morning by introducing Prof. Zhang, who gave the opening speech. He began casually, asking everyone to call him "Brother Yonghong," amusing the audience. Prof. Zhang reviewed the successes of SEE throughout the past year, in international exchange, research and social service. Referring to President Hu's recent speech about China's need for evolving economic development strategies, Prof. Zhang expressed his belief that SEE could lead this economic transformation. He ended by wishing SEE rapid and successful development, as part of Peking University Shenzhen Graduate Campus' continuing globalization.
Prof. Ko was the first keynote speaker; his speech was entitled "Universities' Role in the Global Transformation of a Sustainable Energy Future." In his introduction, he reminded everyone of the remarkable date, "10/10/10," and then presented Dean Geng with a commemorative gift—a sustainably-made souvenir UC-Davis wooden bowl. To which, Dean Geng joked, "Where's the rice?" During Prof. Ko's address he informed the audience of universities' three roles in sustainable energy, drawing on UC-Davis as an example. First, universities must research renewable energy solutions. They must also engage with government and businesses to develop a green economy. And, their third, and maybe most important, role is to educate the next generation of energy scientists, engineers, businessmen and policymakers. After elaborating on how universities can best assume these roles within a global sustainable energy future, he discussed UC-Davis laboratories and research centers (Peter A. Rock Thermochemistry Laboratory, the Photosynthesis and Redox System Energy Center) that are supporting these aims.
The next speaker, Dr. Carl Kukkonen, presented the latest development in biomass. His speech (Why Biomass?) began with the necessity for biomass, and then he expounded on the many qualities of Giant King Grass, a dedicated energy crop and the potential future of biomass. Giant King Grass is a perennial, nitrogen-fixing plant; it is easy to cultivate and can grow up to four meters in height. In one year, one hectare can produce 100 tonnes of the grass, equal to 60 tonnes coal equivalent. Giant King Grass can generate power through biomass (grass pellets or briquettes) as well as through liquid biofuel, like cellulosic ethanol. It is estimated that 80 million hectares of Giant King Grass are needed to replace the world's coal consumption. In Guangdong Province, Dr. Kukkonen's company has already begun farming and processing of the crop.
The final keynote address, "Green Low-carbon Design and Construction," was given by Nanshan District CCP Minister of Organization Mr. Hu. He started by reflecting on the past year's co-operation between SEE and the Nanshan District government. In his speech, he indicated that under the new direction of “Green”- one of the national strategies, Low-Carbon had become the new choice of industry changing. Hence, in order to make sustainable development of economical society come true, Green Buildings with many functions and innovative designs would gradually become the tendency of future construction. At the end of this speech, a model of the Sea Intelligent Science House was shown, which attracted much attention of students. At the end of his speech, Dean Geng honored Mr. Hu with a visiting professorship.
Green Campus iRide's Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony
Green Campus iRide is a unique SEE project group. The club began with six SEE students, and Prof. Ma as their advisor, competing for the "Dean’s Green Earth Project Award." Although the association is still new, because of its environmental consciousness, public service attitude and earnest working spirit it has attracted many more student members.
The head of Green Campus iRide, Gao Zhuyou, directed the ribbon-cutting ceremony. He introduced the association’s mission and explained their bicycle rent service idea. The Secretary-General of Shenzhen’s Bicycle Trade Association, Wang Yiping, was also present and expressed the hope that Green Campus iRide could continue to advocate for more people biking instead of driving.
Dean Geng, Mr. Hu, Wang Yiping and the Secretary-General of Shenzhen Bicycle Sports Association, Sun Gang, cut the ceremonial ribbon together.
Prof. Xu Nan started the second part of the day's activities with a detailed explanation of the SPO program. Five years ago, the vice-dean of Peking University's Environmental Science and Engineering School, Prof. Ni Jinren, started a partnership between the National University of Singapore (SingaporeNUS), Peking University (PKU) and the University of Oxford (altogether abbreviated SPO), to build a "Water and Environmental Technology" teaching and research cooperation platform. These three universities plan to co-operate closely on science and technology research, development and application. In addition, the Singapore government will invest 300 million RMB in the project, the largest grant for an international cooperation project in the history of both SingaporeNUS and PKU. Through SPO and the partnership of SEE's Environmental Engineering major and SingaporeNUS Environmental Research Institute, PKU students have the opportunity to study at SingaporeNUS for one year.
Next, Dean Geng presided over the medal presentation ceremony for the "Dean's Green Earth Project Awards." The awards were set up by Dean Geng who contributed 120,000 RMB to subsidize the project. The goal in setting up the contest was to encourage students to come up with new low-carbon and energy-saving ideas and carry them out. Four groups were recognized; the Green Campus iRide and Energy-Efficient Elevators projects shared first place and Trash Recycling and Environmental Publication and Education both received second place.
The final academic activity was a ceremony recognizing the official partnership between SEE and Daiwa Chemical Industry. Daiwa generously donated vacuum dehydration equipment (worth 700,000 RMB) as well as 300,000 RMB for research funding. The equipment is for purifying wastewater and will be used for research and teaching purposes. It has been set up in SEE's Water Science Laboratory. After the ceremony, Daiwa staff demonstrated to guests, faculty and students how to operate the machine. The most popular program "NHK Special" on the Japanese National Television channel (NHK) came to Shenzhen specifically to record the ceremony and will air the feature on Nov. 14. Cross Road, a Sino-Japanese Friendship Association publication, also covered SEE's First Annual Symposium.
The theme of this year’s academic reports was the current situation and future direction of four academic subjects in the school: bioenergy, low-carbon technology and energy efficiency, environmental science and engineering, environment and human health.
Prof. Ma Jiong, Prof. Wang Guangyi, Prof. Eric Lam, Prof. Jiao Genlin, Xiao Xin and Chen Xianmei discussed bioenergy. First, Prof. Ma explained the four "E"s concept of SEE—Environment, Energy, Economy and Education. He recalled important SEE events from the past year, starting with the design of the school's logo to the International Low-Carbon Development Forum and ending with the school's latest partnership with Daiwa Chemical Industra. Prof. Ma went on to talk about the future development of bioenergy, and how SEE fits into that future. After Prof. Ma, Prof. Wang introduced work being done in the field of aquatic bioenergy, specifically with algal biofuels. He is currently collaborating with Jawkai Bioengineering Center, Ltd. to establish a Shenzhen Enineering Lab of Microalgal Biofules and Bioproducts. An alumnus of Peking University, Ms. Chen followed Prof. Wang and she talked about policies for recruiting talent, fostering innovation and supporting scientific research. Finally, Prof. Lam, Prof. Jiao and Xiao Xin shared personal experiences with students. Prof. Lam encouraged students to apply to the International Communication Projects of Rutgers University, "Don't worry, just do it!" he said, "We all learn new knowledge everyday!"
Dean Geng led the low-carbon and energy efficiency panel. He started it off by emphasizing some of the SEE professors' low-carbon/energy-efficiency research, introducing SEE's partnership with UC-Davis and sharing his expectations for SEE. He encouraged SEE students to write grant and project funding applications as well as to apply chance to go aboard to get further education. Then, associate professors Jin Peng, Xu Qiyong, Jin Zining and Tao Huchun introduced their research. Their research, along with the Shenzhen Bao'an District-PKU Low-carbon Economic Innovation Center and StarSpec-SEE Energy-Saving Lighting Centre, are just the beginning of academic-government and academic-corporate partnership to improve energy efficiency.
The third group, environmental science and engineering, included Prof. Qiu Guoyu, Associate Prof. Xu Qiyong, Associate Prof. Xu Nan, Prof. Ma Xiaoming and Associate Prof.Qin Huapeng. Prof. Qin and Prof. Xu Nan discussed their water treatment research. Prof. Xu Qiyong informed the audience of solutions to solid waste treatment and landfill gas emission problems. Prof. Qiu gave an overview of the new environmental informatics field and introduced a unique SEE major—Environmental Finance.
On the final topic of environment and human health, Prof. He Lingyan noted the latest findings and notable SEE achievements in the field of atmospheric pollution. She told students SEE stands at the global forefront in atmospheric pollution and she hoped that students will fully devote their strength to the development of SEE.
These academic reports were not only a summary of the work done at SEE throughout the last year, but also a display of the international exchange and business-academic-research partnerships the school has achieved.
After the long day of lectures and forums and seminars, everyone relaxed, and showed off hidden talents, at the evening party. Dr. Li Ruili kicked off the show with a traditional opera song. She was followed by dancing, singing, crosstalk (two-person stand-up comedy), poetry reading and magic acts. Both teachers and students performed. In addition to celebrating the first birthday of SEE, the day was also the birthday of Dean Geng and two SEE students. Because it was his birthday, Dean Geng sang "Amazing Grace" for everyone. His rendition was very moving, and then everyone enjoyed cake.
The First Annual Symposium is proof of SEE's growth. In the words of Prof. Xu, "The school has finally been weaned!" Although SEE is only one year old, although it has a lot to build, the faculty and students of SEE strongly believe that SEE has a brilliant future ahead of it!