Build China into a country strong in energy, resources: Academician

By Guo Xiaohong and Xu Xiaoxuan
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, October 27, 2022
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Jin Yong, a chemical engineering academician in the Chinese Academy of Engineering, works in his office in Beijing. [Photo by Shao Ran]

"The path of scientific research is filled with twists and turns and many hardships. Young science workers and scientists must rise to the challenge, and take up the baton of building China into a country strong in energy and resources," said Jin Yong, a professor of chemical engineering at Tsinghua University and an academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering, during a recent exclusive interview with

This is also a message Jin wants to send to young talents, encouraging them to dedicate their energy to scientific research.

Jin has devoted his life to the construction of China's chemical engineering industry, and has also pioneered the development and practice of related disciplines in the field of circular economy in the country. At 87 years old, he remains on the frontline of education and science popularization for chemistry and chemical engineering.

In July, he became one of the speakers in the "Energy and Environment Youth Talent Training Program" jointly sponsored by the China Environmental Protection Foundation, the China Energy Society and the Beijing Society of Energy and Environment. The program aims to promote the development of ecological conservation and environmental protection as well as public welfare undertakings in this field in China, and to help the development of talent in the environmental and energy industries.

"The training program can be compared to a 'gas station' for young scientists and technology workers, providing them with a platform to communicate with each other and broaden their vision and minds," Jin said.

However, he stressed that science and technology talents must work hard and adopt a spirit of perseverance and commitment in their pursuits.

"From the beginning of my career until my retirement, I taught students in the school to do scientific research, so I understand that the success of a technology can entail many years of input by generations of people," he added.

This year's talent training program will last until December 2022 and is being conducted through online classes. The project follows global development trends in energy and the environment, covering seven key areas: advanced energy storage technology, efficient solar energy utilization technology, green mines, clean and efficient coal utilization technology, energy conservation and energy efficiency improvement technology, oil and gas exploration and development technology, hydrogen energy and fuel cell technology.

At present, the first batch of 81 students are undertaking the course stage of the program, in which academicians and industry experts communicate with the trainees though seminars and online classes. The organizers hope that the program can be a cradle for specialists on energy and the environment in the country, and that it can help provide new thinking in response to emerging challenges in the field and help realize sustainable development.

During the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) period, China's ecological civilization construction has entered a critical period focused on reducing carbon emissions, promoting the synergistic effects of pollution reduction and emissions reduction, promoting the comprehensive green transformation of socio-economic development, and improving the ecological environment quality from quantitative to qualitative changes.

Jin pointed out that the European Union plans to reach carbon neutrality more than 70 years after having achieved carbon peak, while for the United States it is more than 40 years. In contrast with developed economies, China has set itself a target of 30 years to become carbon neutral from carbon peak. This is a huge challenge for the country, as while making the energy transition, China still needs to maintain economic growth and manufacturing progress. That requires the support of a large number of energy and environmental talents.

To that end, Jin proposed that education on energy transformation should be started at an early age, from kindergarten, elementary and secondary school through to university. The entire education system should also popularize energy and environmental knowledge with the aim of cultivating professionals in the field. Teaching systematic professional knowledge is not only necessary for those working in the field, but also for raising nationwide awareness on energy transformation.

"Both energy transformation and scientific and technological innovation need the support of science popularization," Jin said. "Good science popularization is conducive to innovative development."

Jin has devoted himself to spreading scientific knowledge on chemical engineering and chemistry as well as the concept of green chemical engineering, for which he has twice been awarded the Top Ten Science Communicators Award by the China Association for Science and Technology.

Since the beginning of 2015, Jin has also been participating in the "Science China Tour" sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, as well as the "Academician Popular Science Tour" and "Welcome Youth to Chinese Academy of Engineering" organized by the CAE. As part of these projects, he has delivered more than 300 popular science lectures across the country, reaching over 100,000 people.

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