Duoji: The Tibetan geothermal expert

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Duoji grew up in a country village in the Tibet Autonomous Region. Childhood nights lit by a dim oil lamp inspired him to go on to become the first Tibetan academician in the Chinese Academy of Engineering and to help bring environmentally friendly electricity to the high plateau.

Back in 1962, life for the eight-year-old boy seemed to be lit up by the electric lights in his primary school. Duoji says this left him with a powerful impression of man-made brightness.

40 years passed and the country lad had become a geologist exploring reserves of geothermal heat some 1,500 meters deep in Yangbajing in Dangxiong County, some 90 kilometers northwest of the capital Lhasa.

Yangbajing was already famous for its hot springs. Duoji had the expertise to help bring in 12 million watts of electric power generation from this natural resource. The area has the potential to generate over 500 million watts. What's more, the power station itself has become a tourist attraction.

"By making good use of clean natural resources, we can keep an azure sky over the Tibetan plateau," said Duoji.

Having been one of only a few university graduates from his rural village, Duoji is determined to do something to improve the daily lives of local people. He plans to replace cow dung and firewood as the herdsmen's sources of fuel with environmentally friendly and natural resources like, wind, geothermal heat and solar energy.

To make his dream come true, Duoji tours around the plateau surrounded by snow-capped mountains. More than once he slipped on a rugged mountain path and tumbled down the hillside, he was blooded but not beaten. "He is really hard working and fiercely determined," said Ciren Da, one of Duoji's colleagues.

Duoji went to work with the Geothermal Geological Team of Tibet in 1978 after graduating from present Chengdu University of Technology. He showed real aptitude for the work and was later sent abroad to updated his knowledge. He studied in the International Institute for Geothermal Research in Pisa, Italy and the U.S.. According to the China Tibet Information Center, Douji's dedication impressed the American experts, who tried to persuade him to stay in the U.S. right up to the last minute when he was leaving. Duoji politely refused the invitations saying, "My hometown is where my roots are and that is where I shall continue with my studies."

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