China Cleantech highlights the most promising green innovations and people emanating from the Chinese ecosystem through poignant storytelling. China Cleantech is sponsored by Southern Asset Management. Learn more atchinacleantech.co.
In our last episode of Season 2, we speak with Dr. Ma Jun, founder and president of the Institute of Finance and Sustainability (IFS) in Beijing. IFS brings together leading finance experts at the national and local levels in China to promote green finance. Areas of focus include International Collaboration, Energy and Climate Change, ESG Investment, Greentech Innovation and Investment, and Financing Nature-Based Solutions. In addition to their domestic work, they also support green finance internationally, especially along the Belt and Road. In addition to leading IFS, Ma Jun is a member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) and is the former Chief Economist of their research bureau.
Learn about the origins of IFS, the financial policies that can help China decarbonize the economy, and what’s in store for the next five years of aligning the Chinese economy with an ecological civilization. In this last episode, we answer the question of how much China needs to invest each year to reach its net zero goal. And Marilyn and Andrew tell us how they really feel about green taxonomies.
Institute of Finance and Sustainability: http://www.ifs.net.cn/
Green Investment Principles for the Belt and Road: https://gipbr.net/
In this episode, we speak with Dr. Shi Zhengrong (施正荣), known as the ‘Sun King’ for his pioneering work scaling solar PV development and manufacturing in China. Dr. Shi founded Suntech Power, once the world’s largest producer of solar panels reaching a market cap of $US 16 bn with an annual production capacity of 1,000 MW, enough to power 1 million US homes. Suntech became a catalyst for other Chinese solar companies to become publicly listed. We explore Dr. Shi’s path from Suntech to Sunman Energy, a new venture that produces eArc, a lightweight, glass-free and flexible form of solar PV. Learn about the importance of glass-free solar panels, applications from trains to buildings, and the rule of three in the industry: safety, reliability, and affordability.
Dr. Shi has published more than 100 papers and is the owner of 60 patents. He is also a professor at the University of New South Wales and a member of the Australian Academy of Engineering.
Sunman Energy: https://www.sunman-energy.com/
Solar Train (eArc installation): https://reneweconomy.wpengine.com/byron-bays-world-first-solar-train-gets-ready-to-trundle-77511/
Rocky Mountain Institute, known as RMI, works with Chinese policy makers to implement clean energy and low carbon economy transition strategies. But how did this all start? How did a Colorado-based organization become a strategic partner of The Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) in Beijing? In this episode, Andrew and Marilyn interview two Managing Directors of RMI: Jon Creyts and Dr. Ting Li. Together, they outline the history and present-day activities of RMI China and explain how China is a laboratory for testing new policy ideas.
RMI China: https://rmi.org/our-work/china-program/
RMI Twitter: https://twitter.com/RockyMtnInst
Sometimes life brings you to an unexpected place. For Barbara Finamore, that place was China. In this episode, learn about how the former Senior Director for Asia at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and founder of their China program went from environmental litigator in Washington, DC to becoming a member of Foreign Policy’s U.S.-China 50. Barbara shares valuable lessons in climate action progress from the 1990s to the present in China, as well as how to best approach the US-China collective work on solving climate change.
Barbara Finamore’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/bfinamore
Barbara Finamore’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bfinamore/
Will China Save the Planet Book: https://www.wiley.com/en-us/Will+China+Save+the+Planet%3F-p-9781509532667
David Li is a pioneer in the maker community in China. In 2010, he co-founded XinCheJian, the first hackerspace in China to promote open source hardware. He is the current Executive Director of Shenzhen Open Innovation Lab, which facilitates collaboration among global hardware entrepreneurs to build innovative, eco-friendly products along the Belt and Road. In this episode, we unpack the notion of a “maker space” and how this concept is applied to China, especially in places like Shenzhen. David Li explains how one particular innovation, low speed electric vehicles (LSEVs) are critical, and even more important, than the electric sedan. LSEVs are experiencing a breakthrough moment, with the GM-backed Wuling Hongguang selling 15,000 units, at $US 4,000 each, within only 20 days after hitting the China market.
China accounts for more than 50% of the global EV market, yet EVs make up roughly 5% of China's total auto market as of 2020.
Shenzhen Open Innovation Lab: https://www.szoil.org/
SAIC-GM-Wuling Hongguang [In Chinese]: https://www.sgmw.com.cn/
Solar Taxi, AU-based E-bikes and EVs: https://www.solartaxi.co/
The Fab Foundation: https://fabfoundation.org/
In this episode, the COO of Golden Feather (金羽新能), Chubing Li, explains the ins and outs of battery innovation in China. Golden Feather is a battery startup focusing on the production of rechargeable high density lithium metal batteries that are said to increase the energy density by 40% compared to lithium ion batteries. A young team with an average age of 27, the founders at Golden Feather met at Peking University, incubated their venture out of the Peking University Incubator, and moved manufacturing to Anji. What enabled this material science breakthrough? How did this English major make her way into cleantech? What are the main challenges that remain? Learn more in this intriguing episode.
For an overview of battery technologies, check out this open-access course called Batteries, Fuel Cells, and their Role in Modern Society on edX.
JUCCCE, the Joint US-China Collaboration on Clean Energy, is an organization catalyzing society towards a future where personal and planetary health thrive. JUCCCE leverages government channels, international networks, and contributions from corporate and individual contributors to make an impact on key drivers of climate change such as food and agriculture, industry, and consumption. In this episode, Peggy Liu, Chair of JUCCCE, summarizes a 10-year journey to significantly mitigate climate change in China. Learn about what has evolved in China since 2007, how an eco-friendly city is defined, and the larger vision for aligning climate action with what people not only care about, but also love. Hint: it isn’t PM 2.5. Peggy Liu also provides some advice for the Biden-Harris administration regarding climate action in China and the US.
This is a fascinating dialogue, where both the incandescent lightbulb and the great conjunction make cameos.
JUCCCE website: https://www.juccce.org/
Peggy Liu’s active social media: https://www.facebook.com/shanghaipeggy
[Recorded on August 12, 2020] In this episode, we speak with Luhui Yan, founder of Carbonstop (碳阻迹). Carbonstop provides clients with granular carbon footprint data and analytics, serving brands such as Alibaba’s Ant Forest and Cai Niao. When a company wants to understand the carbon footprint of its business, including commuter, building, and supply chain emissions, or a specific product, they come to Carbonstop. Luhui, Andrew and Marilyn discuss the demand for carbon emissions measurement in China, the Chinese Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), and answer the question, “Does the Chinese consumer really care about their carbon footprint?”
This episode was recorded in Shanghai, China back in December 2019. Kaikai (KK) Yang is the founder and CEO of Dipole Tech, a startup that leverages blockchain technology to create microgrids, or the local generation and consumption of renewable energy. Learn about how KK went from jazz musician to energy software engineer and entrepreneur. We delve into the impact of low electricity prices in China – how the prices may hinder the growth of rooftop solar, the importance of government renewable energy subsidies, and the promise of blockchain for the low carbon energy transition.
[Recorded on August 8, 2020] Li Xia (Susan) grew up poor in Harbin, a city located in Northeast China. She has an amazing story traveling from the north to the south of China, applying the skills she gained during her journey to develop clean energy solutions for the world’s poor, or bottom of the pyramid (BOP), at Shenzhen Power Solutions. Join us to find out about the most promising markets for solar lighting, how residential clean energy solutions do make an impact on economic outcomes for families, and the significance of replacing kerosene lamps with zero emissions lighting sources.
[Recorded on July 31, 2020] If you listen to this episode while eating, consider a plant-based meal. Join us as we explore the current market for plant-based meat alternatives adapted to the Chinese palate. Shuman Liu, Research & Development Director at Starfield, takes us through the origin of China’s “Beyond Meat” equivalent. Shuman, a trained sociologist and anthropologist, became vegetarian while in Hong Kong and has made it her life mission to promote healthy and eco-friendly diets. Learn about Starfield’s current product line-up and expansion strategy, from selling to Western brands like KFC to Chinese brands like XiBei, to the types of plant proteins being used. Starfield is currently developing chicken analogs and researching new plant proteins like chickpea, hemp and spirulina.
[Recorded on July 25, 2020] Join us as we learn about Yuki Yu’s story starting Energy Iceberg, a research firm providing in-depth coverage of the entire Chinese energy system. Uncover how Energy Iceberg is, according to Yuki, solving the “massive knowledge gap between the outside world and China” when it comes to the electricity system and enabling environment. Often, if there are no international suppliers or investors involved in China-based energy and infrastructure deals, foreign media are simply not that interested. That’s why we were so excited to speak with Yuki! We spend some time on the electricity market (including the 五大四小), coal, and offshore wind.
Some background for the benefit of our listeners:
Generation Companies (Big 5)
中国华能集团公司 - China Huaneng Group Corporation
中国大唐集团公司 - China Datang Corporation
中国华电集团公司 - China Huadian Corporation
中国国电集团公司 - China Guodian Corporation
中国电力投资集团公司 - China Power Investment Corporation
Generation Companies (Smaller 4)
国投电力公司 - SDIC Power Corporation
国华电力公司 - Guohua Power Company
华润电力公司 - China Resources Power Company
中广核集团有限公司 - China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group Co., Ltd.
Grid Companies (Big 2)
国家电网公司 - State Grid Corporation
中国南方电网有限责任公司 - China Southern Power Grid Co., Ltd.