2019 Wanxiang Amassador Fellows Program

June 28, 2019

From June 24 to 26, the University of Chicago Center in Beijing launched into another exciting summer season by enthusiastically welcoming 30 undergraduate students to the Center’s Green Energy Conference as part of this year’s Wanxiang Amassador Fellows program. The Center in Beijing hosted this three-day conference to commence the 6-week Wanxiang Fellows program aimed at exposing students to sustainable energy initiatives in China. Following the conference, students will be visiting key sites in Hangzhou and Shanghai related to green energy development in China.

The Wanxiang program allows students to engage with key actors in China’s green energy development, through the Green Energy conference held in Beijing, as well as site visits in Hangzhou and Shanghai. This year, students will spend three weeks in Hangzhou taking Chinese culture, language and clean energy classes, and one week apprenticing at the Wanxiang Battery factory, learning about electric vehicle battery production. In their final week, students will visit several companies operating in the intersection of business and green energy.

The first two days were packed with speakers introducing students to China’s green energy industry, the regulatory framework in which it operates, and industry development trends. As the opening speaker, Professor Dali Yang skyped in from Chicago to speak about the Chinese regulatory state. With this background in mind, students also heard from Kevin Mo, Managing Director of the Paulson Institute Representative Office in Beijing, and Weidong Zhang, Program Manager at UNDP China, about China’s green energy development in several renewable energy sources. The second day delved into green energy specifics. Hu Gao, Deputy Director of the Center for Renewable Energy Development at the Energy Research Institute (NDRC), and Alfred Zhao, Market Analyst at Goldwind, spoke about the current status and future prospects of China’s renewable energy industry and wind power industry, respectively. Xiangjun Li, Research Fellow Engineer at the China Electric Power Research Institute, introduced students to the applications and trends of power storage technology in China.

In their final conference day, students engaged with Wei Hu, Vice President of Zhenfa New Energy Science and Technology Group, and Shaoda Wang, Postdoctoral Scholar of the Department of Economics and Assistant Professor at the Harris School of Public Policy. Mr. Hu introduced students to the development and application of solar cells in China. Bringing the conference full circle, Mr. Wang lectured on Chinese environmental regulation and its effect on firm productivity.

Led by program leaders Saul Thomas, Vishal Jain, and Joyce Chung, the Wanxiang fellows will enjoy a few days of rest and relaxation in Beijing, before continuing their trek across China and its green energy industry.