February 14, 2015. In a short note on Research Gate, entitled “The Force Driving the Research on Energy – Reminding: we are working for future by using funding from current activities”, Professor Yong-wang Li sets out his ideas on finding solutions for sustainable energy. Research in this area threatens to become under pressure in the current temporary economic climate of abundant cheap oil.
He states that without fundamental scientific knowledge we will not be able to find energy solutions that are truly sustainable. In the end we may need to look at behavior of materials at the quantum level: “future energy resources must be related to the fine control of the fundamental structures and functionalities of many materials due to weak interactions that we are now unfamiliar with.” It easily takes 100 years to discover such knowledge and transfer it into technology. For companies, such new fundamental knowledge helps us in safeguarding our competitive position.
Meanwhile we continue to need fossil fuels. The clean and responsible application of coal can expand these resources, and also help to generate funding for new scientific know how and technologies, and to educate young scientists for these tough challenges. We should encourage our younger generation to work in this essential area.
Professor Li concludes with: “unfortunately, other forces exist, some push forward, some are backwards. For example, many artificial regulations or policies have a negative influence on progress. In my own trust, science always gives us the right guide to the future. The true driving force should come purely from science.
Professor Yong-wang Li (see photo, left) is the founder of Synfuels China Co.Ltd. and currently the most productive academic on the topic of Fischer-Tropsch catalysis. Obviously, the aspirations of the SynCat@Beijing laboratory in scientific research and education are inspired by his vision.