China has every reason to believe a booming market for cleantech is coming: Zhongwei Ma

Reading time: 7 minutes
22 March 2016

Tomorrow The Climate Group hosts the second annual Global CleantechSummit 2016 in Beijing, China. We speak to business leader Zhongwei Ma, President, MagnaDrive, to find out more about the clean technology innovations he will be sharing at the Summit – and what he believes China’s recently announced five year economic plan means for the fast-growing sector.

At Global Cleantech Summit 2016 The Climate Group will launch Accelerator 100 to showcase the top 100 innovative clean technologies in China and beyond. What technologies will MagnaDrive present at the Summit?

‘Accelerator’ to me implies accuracy and vitality, and in this respect clean technology-based accelerators like MagnaDrive have a dual role to play under China’s present economic plan. One is to accelerate supply and technical research and development, so institutions and enterprises engaged in scientific research should bring more effective and practical clean technologies to the general public. The other is as accelerators of demand, which means facilitating market application. All technologies must be proven on the market to encourage our society to use new clean technologies and products.

What MagnaDrive will bring to Global Cleantech Summit 2016 is an example of a globally leading energy-conservation technology for motors based on a permanent magnet “vortex” and flexible drive. Based on modern theories on magnetism, the new technology transfers rotational energy across an air gap by induced magnetism, from permanent-magnetic materials. Its core value lies in its safer, easier, greener and more effective drive.

Another innovative clean technology we use provides energy savings through the use of hydraulic coupling and electric variable-frequency driving. It represents a revolution in power-based drive technology.

What difficulties has MagnaDrive encountered in technical innovation and how is it aiming to overcome them?

In a medium-sized city like Anshan [third largest prefecture level city in Liaoning province, China], the biggest problem we have ever had in technical innovation and development relates to talent. So we rely on two “external resources”.

Firstly, we make use of outside institutions. In recent years, we worked closely with two academics from the Chinese Academy of Engineering and two institutes under Chinese Academy of Sciences for technical support and assistance. This has resulted in critical breakthroughs in the innovation and development of products and technologies.

The second is to spread to more locations. By establishing a Technical R&D Center in Beijing, we are improving our R&D [research and development] capability via a greater platform.

So now we have two technical centers, one in Anshan, which provides solutions to businesses of today, and the other in Beijing, which finds solutions to the business of tomorrow; and because of this we have more choice, more reserves and more of a competitive edge.

Chinas Five-Year Plan included five major development concepts, including innovation and collaborative low carbon development. How do you think this will impact Chinas cleantech market development in the next five or ten years? What new market opportunities will there be from your perspective?

It was pointed out at the Fifth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee that it is imperative to establish a firm philosophy of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development in achieving the development goals for the 13th Five-Year period. This is to overcome crucial development difficulties and further improve and advance China’s theories, experience and visions of development – since the adoption of the reform and open policy signifies a profound change that concerns China’s entire development.

What impacts me most is green development. From the domestic perspective, our ecology is deteriorating and environment pollution worsening due to extensive industrialization and urbanization, where haze in particular affects nearly everyone’s health and life in Chinese cities. This exposes our people-centered development philosophy to serious challenges and we have no choice but to engage in industrial restructuring, changing the mode of development, restraining extensive development and reducing environment pollution.

From a global point of view, cleantech growth is more often for international development competition, though it still cannot do without resources and energies. To rely on new technology means making use of natural resources, renewable or not, to ensure both competitive edge and sustainable development in a healthy environment. Therefore, it is of a top priority to follow the green-development approach in participating in international competition and building a strong and prosperous China.

As far as enterprises are concerned, green development means reducing extensive development that results in high investment, pollution, energy consumption and emissions, and to speed up the change to green, low-carbon and highly efficient development. And we have every reason to believe that a booming market for cleantech and energy-conserving technologies is coming.

China is beginning to lead the global cleantech revolution. What role will MagnaDrive play in conserving energy conserving and reducing emissions as part of its low-carbon innovations to contribute to Chinas green growth?

From my point of view, MagnaDrive should have at least three roles to play. It must be a responder in the first place, that is, to respond actively to the call from the government and – starting with the company itself and from the present moment – take effective measures to incorporate green development into the company’s development philosophy; secondly, it must be a participant, that is, to be active in lining up behind the policy of the country and the government on green development and participating in this historical tide; and last but not least, MagnaDrive must play the role of a forerunner to retain and extend its supremacy in fields where we have arrived at the commanding height in terms of technology and market. Meanwhile active steps must be taken for the research and development of new green products to contribute to the development of a green China.

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