YEAN visited the Sino-Singapore Ecocity two weeks ago, seeking to learn about entrepreneurship outside of our internship. Even though we were fairly disappointed about the rejection of our proposal to get transport funding for this trip, we still left with eager minds to experience and learn. On a sidenote, we would be delighted if any organization feels that it is suitable to subsidize us on our future learning journeys. (BEAMS*)
Back to Tianjin Ecocity. Simply put, it is a joint collaboration between Singapore and China to build a sustainable green city that adopts green practices. It reminds me very much like Singapore, only that you see solar panels, wind turbines, desalination plants on a much bigger scale here. Almost all the street lamps are wind-powered, installed along with what seems like solar panels.
There are 21 KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for this ecocity. Ms Vivian, who was our guide for the tour, explained that unlike most ecocities that do not have goals set, these 21 goals definitely have to be met. I paid more attention to the ones regarding water. When questioned about the KPI regarding 100% portable water, it was deemed fairly difficult to achieve that locally. I am still unsure about why that can’t be done given the brilliant technologies of Hyflux, Sembcorp, Keppel and other top talents in this field.
Some of the Water KPIs
- Quality of Water from Taps
Description: Water from all taps should be potable.
- Quality of water bodies within the Eco-city
Description: Water bodies in the Eco-city should meet Grade IV of China’s latest national standards by 2020.
- Usage of Water from Non-Traditional Sources
Description: At least 50% of the Eco-city’s water supply will be from non-traditional sources such as desalination and recycled water by 2020.
The 21 KPIs of Tianjin Ecocity. It's quite sad to note the painfully obvious spelling errors in some.
We were also introduced to the commercial buildings that green-tech companies will be operating out from in Tianjin. The ecocity sells itself as being able to attract these high-tech firms because whole supply chain is in the city itself. A company can find manufacturers to build the product in the city, have support equipment needed for its testing here, to end consumers of selling the products to be used in the ecocity houses itself.
The companies housed here would have to be quite big, but green technology is still a relatively new industry that can contain many competitors.What other new technologies can we invent to reduce pollution and increase efficiency of our world? The ecocity opens opportunities for these technologies to be conceptualised, and more importantly, implemented.I have met some entrepreneurs in this field over the past 6 months here in Beijing. Given that Tianjin is so close to Beijing, it is probably an area where they can look into as well.
On the way back to Tianjin city, we saw numerous rows of huge solar panels that looks like huge Tetris pieces. They were pretty dusty due to the construction going around the city, and it doesn’t look like they have actually been put to use yet, given the current pollution from the construction. According to a fellow YEANster Tian Chang, such dust actually reduce the efficiency of these solar panels by 50% or more. What can be done for minimise this loss?
Sadly, Singaporeans are still officially unable to purchase houses in the ecocity. Hopefully this will change to enable Singaporeans to benefit in some other way than having our enterprises enter the chinese market from this joint venture between the Singapore and China government. (Though I doubt the chances are high).
Also, check out Jason’s post on our trip, and photos can be found here on our YEAN’s FACEBOOK PAGE!
Sorry for the lack of photography for this post, my iPhone was pickpocketed away on my last day in Tianjin and I am unable to recover it back.