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2017
Asia Needs more Dialogue
Solutions to urban pollution may prove complex
Spread of ESGs could herald new global movement
Investing in quality education is imperative if India wants to reap demographic dividends
China needs to lead in new multi-stakeholder world
China’s B&R initiative leading a resurgence of Asia
Education is key - but long-term: Can we survive?
New wave of robots will be beneficial to all
China needs to continue with its ‘heavy lifting’
Time is right for Chinese firms to invest in Europe
Robots to the rescue for China?
Asian Multinationals are Going Global, But to Where?
China ratchets forward with energy efforts
China’s calm necessary for globalization push
Bridging managerial gaps involves trust-building
China well-placed to power its future through green technology advances
China's new 'springtime' is here
2016
China’s moves show it’s banking on the future
Mindset for action at the G20 summit will be determined by Chinese presidency
Chinese head-hunting intensifies for rare managers that can steer overseas firms
US talk of isolation jars with growing links in Europe and Asia
Electoral rhetoric on global trade not in sync with reality
Is it time to be prudent and consider austerity policies again?
What will we do if we have no oil?
Unlock talent by finding the right fit for a person
The benefits are real and tangible
Trade along China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ won’t succeed without the currency of trust
Reasons for optimism about the long term
2015
Can big oil go green and win?
Poorer Nations Could Sway Climate Talks
Combating Idleness and Deprivation
How China can be a model of food sustainability for the developing world
Kyoto II – Is it a Done Deal?
A meeting of the two largest economic powers
Why China will experience a 'soft' landing
Beware of superstitions
The Elephant and Dragon move ahead
G-7 target on fossil fuels raises many questions
Why Battle for Net Neutrality in the US Matters Globally
China’s resurgence – the ‘normal new’
Wanted: A managerial culture that embraces cultural differences
China's early education plan a smart investment in the future
The New Normal for China and India
2014
China's infrastructure push offers a sure track to better growth
US-China climate pact a good start, but not quite enough
Rethink the human’s place in the ‘digital revolution’
China springs a carbon surprise
Infrastructure - the invisible hand in full view
Dialogue vital for survival of Iraqi nation
China must nurture a new generation of beautiful minds
Great expectations in China and India
GM Cereals – The Pros and Corns
Time to be Honest about Our Energy Prospects
Weathering the Storm of Climate Change
Making a Big Decision? Beware of Your Biases
West Deserves Better Logistics Infrastructure
Digital Currencies do Represent the Future
From 'Printed' Houses to Wooden Skyscrapers
It’s time to bail out our schools, not our firms
Solution to India’s housing shortage – print new ones!
And the most promising green technologies of 2014 are ...
Transport infrastructure key to domestic, export growth
Oil stopgaps: Not worth risking
2013
Why the US should grant Edward Snowden amnesty
May we be more optimistic!
China headed for another massive social experiment?
A dialogue that worked
Yes, politicians deserve vacations - because we benefit
NPOs, NGOs invaluable as creators of dialogue
Look closer and ask: Is America reinventing itself?
Boston bombings case underlines need for dialogue
Millennium Development Goals or own goals?
As usual it's about balance - and timing - of course
Chinese strategists make right moves for growth
2012
Preparing for tomorrow
Austerity or growth?
Japan in danger of becoming 'just a place to fly over'
Beware of the business cycle?
An inconvenient truth
Limited offer sale: Buy a country
Where did our money go?
Leading from behind - a year of elections is almost over
Driving towards a green future
Waiting for springtime
Preserve or Perish
Startlingly similar Asia policy for Obama, Romney
Globalisation remains an irresistible trend
Google has the edge in smartphone war
U.S. Braces for China's Rise
Mankind’s General Scourge
The summer holidays are over and nothing has changed!
Put the hidden trillions to work
Making sense of India’s woes and wonders
Storm in a teacup!
Let’s give bad bankers a venue to admit their sins
News is about depth, not puff or velocity
Booming India, but too few toilets
Delayed Court decisions doesn't mean one may continue to play 'Great Game'
We need media to reflect on data and offer public a balanced view
Big polluters can lead in forging common purpose
The weighty issue of choosing a leader
EU-India Relations - Facing similar challenges
Educating with a goal
The Judicial Malaise
We are growing out, but not growing up
EU´s retrenchment enigma
Urbulence in the Eurozone and the effect on SMEs
Skolkovo May Help Russia to Diversify
Make things more effective
Tapping into the Commonwealth connection
Innovative models for public finance
Facebook revolution but Indian style
The feel-good factor
Asian investors - a private equity opportunity
India needs to be taller and stronger
China´s low sales volume...
Nations playing leapfrog
Shafts of sunlight
What webs we weave
As performers go to Davos, the circus steals the show
Can we control the politicians?
 
2011
Europe’s reminiscence
China firms should go for win-win in overseas ventures
Of procrastination...
Making sense of profiteering
Truth about financial mess must be laid bare
Small is also beautiful
China can help Europe with debt crisis
Excising the cancer of global corruption
Education, a critical asset
Arab uprisings set in motion forces of creative destruction
A new era of change
We must ensure better education for all
Beijing wary of bankrolling a lost cause
Asean's re-emergence as a local and global leader
Why India's Role in the Global Economy is Still Work in Progress
Its the leadership, stupid!
Reverse globalisation: The new buzzword
China well-placed to power its future through green technology advances
By Frank-Jürgen Richter
Global Times, January 31, 2017
 

China has been moving toward a more sustainable future based on electrical power. Even so, China has invested in new highly efficient coal-fired power stations to the dismay of those clamouring for a "green" future - though it is rapidly removing old inefficient generators from its production mix. Greens also dislike China's investment in nuclear power even though that source of electricity hardly pollutes: they state it creates too much radioactive waste plus later, a decommissioning conundrum. The problem besetting most nations is that demand for electrical power nearly outstrips their capacity to generate.

The globe must rely on fossil fuels for several years and coal usually offers the cheapest source. China, through its massive investment in this source is well placed to also offer its newer power stations for comparative at-scale experimentation on carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) of polluting flue gases that cause global warming. Other nations have not progressed along the CCS route, and some, like the UK, have lost millions in sunk costs as its government has withdrawn CCS development subsidies. China therefore might be our future savior via this technology.

All fossil fuels have a limited future being non-renewable. The conventional oil-field is weakest: the International Energy Agency (IEA) said we passed peak oil in 2005 after which few new oil-fields would be discovered. In their 2017 annual report they note that "… another year of low upstream oil investment in 2017 would risk a shortfall in oil production in a few years' time and cause potential market-place issues from 2020 onwards." They continue: "… almost all of the projected growth in oil demand to 2040 comes from freight, aviation and petrochemicals, sectors where alternatives are scarce." Even if total vehicle numbers almost double, fuel demand for passenger vehicles falls because of fuel efficiency gains, use of biofuels and greater numbers of electric vehicles - though we must remember the latter's "fuel" has to be generated somewhere by some means.

China's decision makers have invested in high voltage direct current (HVDC) electricity distribution grids, which for transmissions of over 800 kilometers is superior to the alternating current alternative. China has constructed many HVDC lines from fuel sources (often in the remote regions which are fossil-fuel rich and wind-power rich: the autonomous regions of Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang or Yunnan Province) where electricity is generated to supply distant consumers in homes, offices and factories, often in the coastal regions: the Pearl River, or the Yangtze River manufacturers. In the future, HVDC grids will aggregate and distribute all sources of electricity generation - from fossil fuels, nuclear, and renewables. Direct current will be the force supporting inter-state electricity flows allowing a true market east/west, north/south to guarantee our demand for power as the sun rises and falls.

China is supporting the use of electric vehicles in towns. Soon there will be reduced car ownership through both sharing and by the increasing use of Uber-style autonomous taxis - we expect traffic density and exhaust pollution to fall making cities much less stressful. Electric trucks complete the story.

However Professor Ni Jun (of Michigan and Shanghai Jiaotong universities) stated in a 2008 SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) that undue reliance had been made upon the R&D of global vehicle manufacturers like Ford, Fiat/Chrysler, Renault or the VW Group. These global players have left a niche for over 200 Chinese electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers to show their intrinsic versatility. However the government has recently said that EV firms must pass effectiveness tests relating to safety and battery range so as not to disappoint buyers. Overly cheap EVs are poor designs they say, and while much cheaper than foreign EV cars they do not represent value for money. Such foresight is especially important looking forward to the new relationship with President Trump's re-jigging of US manufacturing, trade deals, and their renegotiation with respect to overseas investment in China.

Several cities in China are developing eco-clean low speed maglev links - in their metro systems, or connecting airports to cities. These new transport systems as well as the deployment of high speed maglev will eventually be the long-distance backbone for trade to and from China along its One Belt and One Road initiative. Already inside China, new townships are coalescing at hubs near high-speed rail stations. These hubs are usually supported by a new regional airport as well as good long-distance road systems so attracting rural-to-urban migrants before they overwhelm the already developed coastal regions.

Even higher speed systems are being developed. Southwest Jiaotong University in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, revealed a test track in 2014 demonstrating a super-maglev that could travel at 2,900 kilometers per hour within a partial-vacuum tube utilizing high temperature superconducting magnets. This is similar to the Hyperloop proposed by Elon Musk (of Tesla car fame) which will be further developed in Toulouse, France. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) announced the new French research facility in January 2017, as well as plans for tracks in Bruno, Czech Republic and in Abu Dhabi. Such developments are of interest to the EU as they potentially strengthen Europe/Asian trade through the traditional Central Asian corridors. These technologies will depend on HVDC backbones being in place to supply all their energy needs.

It is expected that technological diffusion will flow along the Belt and Road initiative into regions far from China, thus re-developing Central and South East Asian towns as trading posts in their own right, and providing route maps for the re-development of Africa and the Middle East. This will offer a seamless continuum of trade and people flows, good living, and intellectual exploration in the future era without oil. This will take time to achieve - China is well-poised to advance the future.

 

The author is founder and chairman of Horasis, a global visions community. Horasis hosts the annual Horasis China Meeting - the 2017 edition of the event will be held in Sheffield, UK.

 


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