College of Engineering Dean Addresses Conference in China

Wayne-DavisWayne Davis, dean of the College of Engineering, was one of the invited speakers at the 2014 International Conference on Engineering Science and Technology in Beijing.

The conference, Engineering and the Future of Humankind, was sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, known better as UNESCO; the International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences; and the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

With that theme in mind, Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed the conference, saying that innovation will lead the way in his country’s intensified efforts to protect the environment and develop into a country with “blue skies and clean water.”

More than 1,500 leading researchers from around the world attended the two-day event June 2 and 3, which was broken down into parallel sessions dealing with engineering issues pertaining to the environment.

Davis, in a session labeled Environment and Green Development, provided a presentation titled “Reduction of Sulfur Emissions From Fossil Fuels—Successes and Challenges,” which was based on his extensive experience in air quality management and pollution control.

The report involved comparing the successes the United States has had in reducing sulfur emissions and the associated profound drop in the reduction of particulate air pollution with the TVA’s successes in addressing how to economically reduce carbon dioxide and sulfur and nitrogen oxides emissions, and the ensuing improvement in air quality that has occurred in the United States.

With its economy having rapidly modernized over the last generation, China has found itself in a position where it must weigh economic growth with environmental and health concerns.

Air quality indicators there have shown pollution to be in excess of World Health Organization and US standards to the tune of ten to twenty times the accepted limits.

China is now making an effort to address the issue, with President Xi’s comments to the conference indicating that he understands it is one of the biggest challenges facing his country today.

The burning of fossil fuels for power generation and for transportation in China is a major contributor to climate change, but the health risks associated with air quality are alerting Chinese leaders and civilians to look for alternatives.

Davis was invited to the conference due to his expertise in air quality concerns, his years of research in the area, and his understanding of management and control of air particulates as related to power production in particular.

C O N T A C T :

David Goddard (865-974-0683, david.goddard@utk.edu)

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