University students compete to find low-carbon solutions

Post by Zhang Yingying, assistant editor in chinadialogue’s Beijing office

On July 5, I attended the second “ENN Cup” held by Peking University’s Clean Development Mechanism club and saw for myself the passion of Chinese students for environmental design solutions.

Some 90 products were entered into the competition, including clean-energy and low-carbon technologies, energy-management systems and other innovative low-carbon solutions.

Competitors in the final round included a team from Huanan Polytechnic University, who set out ideas for extending battery life in electric vehicles by using phase-changing materials. Meanwhile, the “green innovation” team from Zhongnan University presented an energy-saving air cleaning device, which uses solar power as an energy source and can absorb PM2.5, fine particulates that pose a hazard to human health.

Ideas were also put forward for low-carbon building design. And, in the realm of clean-energy development, two entrants set out techniques for generating biodiesel from waste oil. Shanghai Jiaotong’s entry “Green unmanned ship” attracted a great deal of attention from judges. But the final prize went to Tongji University’s project, which aims to use carbon-trading mechanisms to encourage universities to participate in energy saving activities.

Overall, the entrants exhibited a certain level of innovation, identified the energy sector’s hottest topics and offered solutions. But ENN’s head engineer and one of the panel judges Xue Zhi pointed out some problems: the ideas lacked market linkage and showed insufficient analysis of costs and too little competitiveness with comparable solutions, he said.

Rao Rong, head of the Green Architecture Research Centre at Tsinghua University also pointed out necessary technical and design refinements.

This article is translated and published here as part of our Green Growth project, a collaboration between chinadialogue and The Energy Foundation.

Translated by chinadialogue volunteer Felix YH Tse