Carbon neutrality has become a global goal to mitigate rapid climate change

The Source
By: Guest contributor, Tue Sep 21 2021

Author: Guest contributor

In honor of Global Goals Week (17-26 September), we’ve launched the SDG 13 hub dedicated to global warming mitigation and our better adaptation to changing environment under a rapid climate change. As a part of this initiative, we spoke to several opinion leaders about how they address issues directly related to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 through their work as well as their experience in making societal impact beyond their academic circles.

In this interview we hear from Changying Zhao, Chair Professor of Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Editor-in-Chief of our new open access journal Carbon Neutrality.

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What is the focus of your research work?

My research mainly focuses on low carbon smart energy, thermal energy storage, solar energy utilization, heat transfer, and micro/nano thermal radiation.

Thermal storage technology is rather important for the stable utilization of renewable energy and is a key technology for low carbon development, with significant and broad research prospects. Over the years, I have devoted myself to the research of high-efficiency thermal storage materials, units and systems, including the research on the modification and stability of thermal storage materials, enhanced heat transfer and structural design of thermal storage units, and the optimization and control of thermal storage systems. We have developed phase change heat storage units and graded phase change thermal storage systems, and studied the influence of different levels of thermal storage units on energy utilization efficiency and the schemes for efficient utilization. In respect of thermochemical heat storage, the design methods of various reactor forms such as fixed-bed and fluid-bed have been studied respectively.

What are the short- and long-term goals of your work?

I will continue to devote myself to low-carbon research such as thermochemical thermal storage, phase change heat storage and renewable energy. On the basis of solving fundamental problems and further improving system performance, I will focus more on the applicability of the research, while strengthening the integration of technological innovation and industrial application, carrying out the transformation of scientific and technological achievements.

By combining new energy, energy storage and artificial intelligence based on big data, we will form a smart energy plus energy Internet model, which is a development goal of future energy transformation, and also my long-term research goal. Besides, we will carry out research on the construction of low-carbon demonstration parks and low-carbon cities, explore and solve key technical problems of intelligent energy systems at the application level, and provide technical support for achieving zero carbon emission in the future.

Which UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) does your work most closely relate to? 

My work is closely related to SDG13: Climate Action. As climate change is a huge threat faced by all human beings, net zero emissions/carbon neutrality has become a global goal for the entire civilization. Carbon neutrality is an extensive and profound economic and social systemic change, involving all levels of the economy and society, but the first and foremost should be a deep systemic change in energy. The transformation of the energy structure must be based on advanced energy technologies. My research area is focused on energy, involving low carbon energy, thermal storage and micro-scale radiant heat transfer. Among them, thermal storage and new renewable energy are my main research directions, which are most closely related to low carbon development and addressing global climate change.

What do you believe are the most effective ways of communicating your research?

From my perspective, there are various ways of communicating research. First of all, our research group will continuously publish our research on international journals, authoritative academic websites, and official websites of relevant institutions. Also, we will actively take part in important international conferences and workshops (e.g., COP26) to showcase our latest and significant research findings.

What advice do you have for researchers who are looking for ways to make societal impact, in other words, impact beyond their scholarly circle/academia?

First of all, they should be fully devoted to the research they are doing with continuous passion and try to come up with innovate, up-to-date, feasible research ideas applicable for the industries. They could promote their research findings by attending more domestic and international academic workshops as well as industrial forums, and submitting papers to international journals.

How does the new open access journal Carbon Neutrality play a role with SDG13?

SDG13: Climate Action calls for urgent action to combat climate change. By launching this new open access journal Carbon Neutrality, we encourage scientific innovation in low carbon research and aim for creating an international platform for multi-disciplinary scientists including social scientists and engineers, policy-makers, as well as businesses to communicate frontier research on solutions to achieve net-zero carbon emissions and tackle the issue of climate change. As a comprehensive journal, Carbon Neutrality publishes various types of articles focused on the theme of low carbon, but no matter it is a slightly broad paper or a more specific paper, it is expected to include a discussion of its contribution towards the carbon neutrality goals. Therefore we will be able to analyze from time to time if we are getting closer to the ultimate goal of net-zero carbon emissions and how far we are from achieving this goal.

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About Professor Changying Zhao

Prof. Changying Zhao is the Chair Professor of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Dean of China-UK Low Carbon College, and a National Distinguished Expert. He is the Principal Investigator for quite a few major research projects, including Key Projects, Major Projects, and Key International Cooperation Projects of Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), National Key Basic Research Project , Subversive Innovation Projects, and UK EPSRC. Prof. Zhao has conducted systematic and in-depth research in micro/nano-scale heat transfer, novel energy storage technologies, metamaterial energy devices and smart energy system. He has published over 200 papers, and he was elected as the Most Cited Chinese Researchers by Elsevier every year since 2014. Prof. Zhao is a Member of the Scientific Council of the International Center for Heat and Mass Transfer, Fellow and an Executive Board Member of Asia Union of Thermal Science and Engineering (AUTSE), a Board Member of the Chinese Society of Engineering Thermophysics, and the Deputy Director of the Heat and Mass Transfer Society of China. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Carbon Neutrality (published by Springer Nature) and also serves as the Associate Editor or Editorial Board Member of several international journals.



Author: Guest contributor

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