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TJU Takes Responsibility for Protection of Environment and Human Society

 Research

Responding to climate change with a global consensus has always been desired and hoped for, but countries failed to reach agreement on the Paris Agreement on Climate Change at the G20 summit on June 8. China has said that promoting and signing the Paris agreement, and tackling global climate change with all the countries around the world is not only an international responsibility for China to bear as a major developing country, but also an inherent demand to change its model of development. China will continue to fulfill its commitments, and strive to follow the road of green, low-carbon and sustainable development. Tianjin University (TJU), as the oldest institute of higher education in the modern history of China, is committed to assisting contributions to protect the ecological environment through scientific and technological innovation, working with scientists around the world to resolve the problem of “how to realize harmonious coexistence between the ecological environment and human development” and achieve sustainable development. 
A study recently conducted by the School of Environmental Science and Engineering at TJU showed that, the lakes’ eutrophication caused by phosphorus in the populated regions was much lower than previously thought. The concentration of phosphorus,a main water pollutant including harmful algal blooms,had decreased by more than one third in many lakes. Nature Geoscience, a subordinate serial of Nature, published the research.  
Tong Yindong’s team spent over 2 years on tracking and analyzing water quality data 
To conduct the research, Tong Yindong’s team spent over 2 years on tracking and analyzing water quality data collected from 862 lakes distributed in almost all 31 provinces across China. As a researcher on environmental science, Tong Yindong has a deep sense of responsibility toward answering “how to realize harmonious coexistence between the ecological environment and human development in China”. “The decrease in phosphorus concentrations in the lakes indicates that the risk of eutrophication is reducing”, Tong said, “the government is on the right direction to reduce the water eutrophication, although there is still much to do before we say the water pollution is cured.” 
The research team of Professor Ji Min from the same school focuses on pollution prevention and control of China's urban river water quality. The School of Environmental Science and Engineering has been taking charge of the Chinese National water Pollution Control and Treatment Science and Technology Major Project “Key technology and comprehensive demonstration for improving Haihe River water quality” during the 12th Five-Year Plan period. 
According to the National Environmental Monitoring Information Report, the Haihe River Basin is the most polluted of the seven major river basins in China. To solve this problem, Ji’s team provided a practical harness program: to control pollution discharge into the rivers strictly, intercepting pollutants and clearing silting-up. It needs to close the previous and existing Haihe River sewage drain outlets, cleanse heavy-polluted water (black and odorous river) and impact pollution discharge using combined physical-chemical and eco-purification emergency treatment technology. It also designs and constructs ecologicalization of urban river, enhances the river self-purification capacity, and adopts ecological restoration technology for improvement of river water quality. He also said: “The urban river should return to its own natural river state, using self-purification and self-repair.” 
In order to promote the further implementation of the Haihe River Harnessing Project, the school led the establishment of the “Tianjin City river water quality ecological purification technology engineering center”. Around urban river eco-purification technologies, the Center will develop pollution control and eco-remediation technologies for weak stream river, ecological river design theory and methods, combined pollution control technologies, and unitized technologies and devices for water quality improvement. Urban river informatization and integrated management technologies are provided as well.  
Professor Chen Guanyi is committed to the research of biomass energy, whose research object is farming and forestry disposables—kaoliang straws. The project “Key technologies and equipment of farming and forestry wastes cleaning pyrolysis gasification poly-generation” provides efficient ways for farming and forestry waste disposal other than incineration. The project won second prize at the National Science and Technology Progress Awards. 
The key words of the project can be summarized as “clean”, “efficient” and “poly generation”. Chen Guanyi said: “The project reduces the tar by more than 85% in the process of straw gasification, which is more environmentally friendly; secondly, the project can produce a variety of products, biomass turned into gas after pyrolysis and gasification, mainly as gas, waste residues turned into ecological fertilizer, liquid refined into fuel, which improves the comprehensive economic benefits.” 
The School of Chemical Engineering and Technology is a traditionally dominant institute at TJU, whose major chemical engineering ranks first in the consecutive three China Discipline Rankings, which organized by the Ministry of Education. With “green chemical engineering” as the leading direction of scientific and technology innovation, the School of Chemical Engineering and Technology set up the Key Laboratory for Green Chemical Technology of Ministry of Education in 2003 and established the Collaborative Innovation Center of Chemical Science and Engineering (Tianjin) in 2011. It has achieved a series of major scientific and technological breakthroughs and won the National Science & Technology Progress Awards and the WIPO-SIPO Awards. 
Professor Zhang Minhua’s team from the R&D Center for Petrochemical Technology was the winner of the gold medal of the WIPO-SIPO Award for the patented technology named “alcohol production methods with cassava as raw material”. Over the past decade, the team has been focusing on biomass energy. Using basic theory, advanced technology and methods of updated chemical engineering and bio-engineering, Zhang Minhua’s team have developed a packaged cassava alcohol production technology which they hold independent intellectual property rights and built the world's first large-scale cassava fuel ethanol production demonstration device. Zhang Minhua said: “We call bioethanol mixed with gasoline ‘energy utilization’ and bioethanol producing chemical raw materials ‘resource utilization’. We have shown that it’s not contradictory to achieve economic benefits and protect the environment.” 
Actions and Visions 
Tianjin University has set up many research institutes such as the key laboratory, the innovation base and the research center. From practice to theory, Tianjin University has formed our own system and pathway. 
Established in 2015, the Research Institute of China Green Development of Tianjin University aims to solve the core issues of law, energy, planning and management of laws and the environment, computing and other areas in the process of green development to form important consultation reports for national green development. Tianjin University aims to cultivate academic masters with international influence, produce innovative talents, make top-level innovation achievements at home and abroad, and ultimately build a national think tank with significant influence. 
In 2012, Tianjin University and the University of South Australia jointly established the China-Australia Centre for Sustainable Urban Development. The Centre conducts extensive scientific research cooperation in the fields of urban ecology and the environment, sustainable architecture and urban regional planning, urban security and management, and explores the establishment of a deep-seated model and mechanism for Sino-Australian cooperative education to solve sustainable urban development issues in the Asia-Pacific region. 
In 2014, at the 11th Ministerial Energy Conference held during the APEC China Year, Wu Xinxiong, director of the China National Energy Administration, officially announced the establishment of the APEC Sustainable Energy Center (APSEC). APSEC, led by Tianjin University aims to strengthen APEC member countries' strategic cooperation in the energy sector, optimize the energy structure in the Asia-Pacific region even the globe, and improve the energy and environmental crises. APSEC also hopes to achieve dual objectives: promoting healthy economic development and protecting the environment in the Asia-Pacific region whilst promoting sustainable energy development. 
The Key Laboratory of Efficient Utilization of Low and Medium Grade Energy (Tianjin University,Ministry of Education) was set up in 2012 and will study the scientific problems inherent in the process of efficient utilization of low and medium grade energy combing the national needs to develop new industries such as the energy-saving industry and the new energy industry. In the same year, an innovative and intelligent base for low-carbon cities and building innovation was established. The ‘Low Carbon Building International Research Center’ carries out research work in areas including urban energy planning, building energy efficiency technology, building energy consumption evaluation mechanisms, quality assurance systems and legal, regulatory aspects with the integrated research power of building and urban planning, environmental engineering and civil engineering.  
In view of the global and regional ecological and environmental changes, Tianjin University has established the Institute of Surface-Earth System Science to provide a scientific decision-making basis for sustainable development and foster excellent teaching and research personnel in geoscience and its related research fields with thorough systematic study of global climate and environmental change. 
Adhering to the motto of “seeking truth from facts”, Tianjin University will carry out environmental protection through to the end. Li Jiajun’s words at the establishment of the Research Institute of China Green Development of Tianjin University express the aspirations and determinations of all TJU people. He said: “In the future, Tianjin University will make further efforts to contribute to China’s green development.” 
By: Liu Lisha
Editors: Yin Shiyu, Qin Mian and Christopher Peter Clarke