Source: Xinhua 2016-07-05 20:47:49
BEIJING, July 5 (Xinhua) -- When Michel Che recalls his childhood in central France, not far from Lyon where there were many heavy industries and chemical plants, all he remembers is "heavy fog and pollution."
Che's father went to France to study in the early 20th century with Zhou Enlai, who later became the first premier of New China. About sixty years later in 1978, Che came to China for the first time, and went with his father to his hometown not far from Taiyuan in northern Shanxi Province, a city with a severe smog problem in winter due to the burning of coal for heating.
"I remembered when visiting laboratories where there was nothing. Now they have equipment much better than other countries. People are now coming to China to learn from Chinese people and share experience and problems," said Che, scientist who specializes in catalysis.
As a former president of the International Association of Catalysis Societies, now a professor at University Pierre and Marie Curie, Che was in Beijing to attend the 16th International Congress on Catalysis (ICC) this week, along with more than other 2,500 scientists.
The conference is held every four years and the 16th ICC has the theme of stainable development. Scientists will discuss how catalysis can improve conventional energy production, utilization of fossil fuels, renewable energy efficiency, and pollution control.
Previous ICCs have focused very much on science itself but, according to Che, at this meeting the focus has turned to society and environment.
The growth of science in China has been "much faster than in other countries," Che said, with China at the forefront, particularly in solar energy.
"We can share our experience with Europe and the United States, and try to see what problems they have solved so that China would not duplicate the problems," Che told Xinhua.
"When you make progress, you encounter problems. One of the biggest problems in Europe has been the use of diesel and gas oil in public transportation. The small particles mean people don't realize the harm being done, but now we are more aware and look at the consequences on people. Now the situation is much better and catalysis played a big part in the improvements," he said.
Energy and the environment have been two major areas of catalysis research, said Li Can, chairman of the 16th ICC and a researcher with Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Catalysis produces more efficient and cleaner renewable energy, preventing and controlling pollution, Li said.
"Simply put, catalysis raises efficiency," he said, adding that the benefits of catalysis are everywhere, alleviating negative effects of chemical reactions and ensuring environmentally-friendly processes.
Catalysis has been widely used in treating car emissions and in desulphurization and denitrification of factory waste, but is still an emerging industry in China that needs the participation of more young researchers.