It was, for the most part, a beautiful day in Beijing. The skies were far clearer than yesterday and it was even pretty warm in the middle of the day. Our new friends at the American embassy told me about times when they couldn’t even see across the street and remarked on how nice it was now.
Our day began with two briefings. One was by the China New Energy Chamber of Commerce; the second was from Prudent Energy.
The New Energy Chamber had been established in 2006 following the establishment of the renewable energy law. Their purpose is to provide expert, media relations, policy recommendations, research, meetings, and information. It was noted during the session that when components, machinery, and equipment for solar PV is considered (in addition to PV modules), the trade gap in this field is in favor of the US.
Prudent Energy is an VRB energy storage company that was born out of technology acquired from Vancouver, BC in 2009. It has 200 employees, forty patents, has raised investment capital from US sources, and currently has fifty projects underway or complete.
After a fine Beijing train station KFC meal, the delegation embarked on a bullet train that reached the speed of 300 Kph. We were amazed not so much by the speed of the journey to Tianjin, but how smooth the ride was.
In Tianjin, we met with the president and founder of Tianjin Lishen Battery Joint-Stock Co. Ltd., Mr. Qin Xingcai and his team. Lishen is an impressive operation. They are working with Spokane company, Demand Energy, to create demand smoothing energy storage systems. In addition, they have a joint venture in the creation of the Coda electric car, which is just entering the US market.
The founder and his team toured us around the facility and talked to us about their company and views of the market. They are big believers in electric vehicles and are working on both cars and buses. They are endeavoring to create recycling systems and to create much more battery efficiency in the same mass. Among the best bets for improved batteries are advances in materials, they said.
Our day ended with a great reception featuring former Washington State Governor and current US Ambassador to China, Gary Locke. Ambassador Locke addressed the delegation warmly and emphasized the seriousness of cleantech issues in China. Efforts that the Ambassador and his team are making in Beijing and throughout China, he said, were aimed at creating more jobs and benefits for both Americans and Chinese.
-J Thomas Ranken