The HKUST Energy Institute celebrated its official opening in March, marking another milestone in the University’s commitment to a sustainable future. The launch ceremony included a keynote address by Dr Christine Loh, Under Secretary for the Environment, followed by an Energy Forum, featuring 16 leading experts from Hong Kong, Mainland China, Japan and the United States.
"The Energy Institute is a focal point for research in areas including sustainable energy production, energy storage, energy efficiency and conservation,” said Prof Tianshou Zhao, Director of the Institute and Chair Professor in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, who regards energy management as one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century. The Institute’s research team, comprising over 90 faculty members from various disciplines, will contribute their expertise in areas including fuel cells, solar cells, nanocarbon materials, lithium-ion batteries and thermal energy management.
Value of multidisciplinary research
In her keynote speech, focused on “Energy & Hong Kong – An Evolving Picture”, Dr Loh reflected on the many energy challenges facing Hong Kong today, ranging from the city’s current fuel mix and air pollution to revising the regulatory framework with the two power companies in Hong Kong. Dr Loh praised the University’s endeavor to engage in evidence-based research on different energy areas, studies that often becomes a good source for the Hong Kong government to draw upon when formulating policies.
Among those officiating at the launch were Ms Janet Wing Chen Wong, Commissioner for Innovation and Technology, President Prof Tony F Chan, Executive Vice-President and Provost Prof Wei Shyy and Vice-President for Research and Postgraduate Studies Prof Joseph HW Lee.
Prof James Klausner, Program Director of the United States Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), and Ir Dr Andrew KC Chan, Deputy Chairman of Arup Group Ltd, presented keynote lectures on innovations in energy technology at the agency and energy design strategies in urban development respectively.
Global leaders and government engagement
During the two-day forum, energy experts from around the globe shared research and findings from their respective countries. Dr John Lemmon, from ARPA-E, looked at electrochemical grid storage while Prof Manabu Ihara from the Tokyo Institute of Technology talked about the latest trends in the Japanese energy field and the “Ene-Swallow” smart grid management system. The forum’s agenda also included prominent researchers from Hong Kong and Mainland China.