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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Dongyu Island’s Zero-Carbon Demonstration Zone: A Model for Sustainable Urban Development

ChinaDongyu Island's Zero-Carbon Demonstration Zone: A Model for Sustainable Urban Development

Dongyu Island, located in Bo’ao, south China’s Hainan province, has completed the first phase of its zero-carbon demonstration zone. This permanent site of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) is a result of the decision made in 2022 by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and the Hainan provincial government. The aim of the demonstration zone is to explore a path to carbon neutrality in urban areas.

Liu Lianwei, deputy director of Hainan province’s department of housing and urban-rural development, emphasized that the demonstration zone stresses zero-carbon. However, it does not stand for zero carbon emission, but carbon neutrality. The demonstration zone uses emission reduction technologies in energy, transport, building, and waste disposal sectors. Additionally, it implements other countervailing measures, such as building forest carbon sinks, to ensure it can absorb however much carbon dioxide it generates and thus achieve zero carbon emission to the outside.

Liu further noted that the zone serves as an exemplary model. According to statistics, cities generate 71 percent to 76 percent of the world’s total carbon emissions. Therefore, the green and low-carbon upgrading of urban built-up areas is of significant importance in achieving global carbon neutrality. The zero-carbon demonstration zone serves as a practical example for other cities and regions to follow.

The urban construction of Dongyu Island was completed approximately 20 years ago. The island faces challenges that most urban built-up areas would face, such as outdated facilities and low cyclic utilization of resources. These challenges make it more difficult to achieve carbon neutrality. However, the zero-carbon demonstration zone serves as an example that it is possible to overcome these challenges.

The first phase of the zero-carbon demonstration zone’s construction has been completed. It is a significant milestone for the island and the entire country. It shows that China is committed to achieving carbon neutrality and that it is taking practical steps towards this goal. Furthermore, the zero-carbon demonstration zone will help China achieve its targets under the Paris Agreement.

Zero-carbon pilot programs in urban built-up areas are more difficult and challenging to carry out than in newly constructed areas due to the pre-existing infrastructure, higher population density, and more complex systems. However, the relevance of such programs in urban areas cannot be overstated as they can provide more replicable experiences for sustainable development.

The Dongyu Island in China has established a zero-carbon demonstration zone, which serves as a micro model to promote green and low-carbon transition in other parts of the country. Hu Yaowen, the head of the Hainan branch of CAUPD Beijing Planning and Design Consultants Ltd., expressed that this project sets an example for the exploration of sustainable development and carbon neutrality.

One of the highlights of this project is the complete reliance on new energy to power all vehicles on the island. China Southern Power Grid’s Hainan subsidiary’s control center general manager, Yu Jiaxi, shared that fuel vehicles are not allowed to run on the island, and it has instead implemented a comprehensive green transportation system.

This project on Dongyu Island not only promotes zero-carbon lifestyles, but it also stimulates the development of green industries such as electric vehicles and clean energy. The project has brought together the government, the private sector, and the community to work towards sustainable development and a better future.

This project is an example of how cities can achieve sustainable development through partnerships and cooperation across different sectors. The successful implementation of this project is a testimony to the power of collaboration and innovation in the face of the challenge of climate change.

The island has undergone significant changes in terms of its energy infrastructure. Among the most notable is the installation of green and intelligent parking facilities. In addition to that, the island now has 398 charging poles that are connected to a provincial charging infrastructure network. These developments are critical in promoting the adoption of electric vehicles on the island.

Another noteworthy development is the installation of intelligent charging stations. These stations use photovoltaic power generation and power storage, which enables them to fully charge a vehicle within ten minutes. This is a significant improvement from traditional charging methods that took several hours. It is expected that these charging stations will encourage more people to switch to electric cars.

Near the island is a 20MW agrivoltaic solar farm. More than half of its capacity has already been connected to the power grid. This is a significant development as it helps to reduce the island’s reliance on traditional power sources. The solar farm is expected to have a positive impact on the environment by reducing the carbon footprint of the island.

In addition to the agrivoltaic solar farm, a 5.1MW distributed photovoltaic station is under construction on the island. So far, 3.82MW of the capacity has been put into use. This project is expected to significantly increase the amount of electricity generated on the island. It will also help to promote the use of renewable energy sources, which are becoming increasingly important in the fight against climate change.

The island is well-prepared for emergencies as it has 17 emergency power generation vehicles that ensure normal operation of facilities and devices even at night or during bad weather conditions. This is a crucial aspect of the island’s infrastructure as it helps maintain the daily routine of the people living on the island without any disruption.

The island’s focus on reducing carbon emissions while maintaining the living standards of the people and work efficiency is commendable. This problem of reducing carbon emissions is a significant challenge that must be addressed in urban built-up areas worldwide. However, the island is taking proactive measures towards this goal.

One way the island is working towards reducing carbon emissions is by maximizing the utilization of available resources. The focus is on the recycling of solid waste, garbage recycling, and rainwater harvesting. By doing so, the island aims to reduce its carbon footprint while ensuring sustainable living.

The island’s commitment towards sustainability is evident from its rainwater harvesting program. The island collects and recycles about 150,000 tons of rainwater on an annual basis, which is an impressive feat. The collected rainwater is used for various purposes like watering plants, cleaning roads, and flushing toilets. By doing so, the island is saving its precious freshwater resources and promoting sustainable living.

The island’s recycling programs are also worth noting. The focus is on recycling solid waste and garbage, which significantly reduces the amount of waste that goes into landfills. This helps to reduce carbon emissions as the decomposition of waste in landfills produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas. By recycling solid waste and garbage, the island is taking a step towards reducing its carbon footprint.

The press center of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) is a remarkable structure situated on Dongyu Island. Spanning an impressive area of 4,000 square meters, it is the largest stand-alone building on the island. Recently, the press center has undergone an upgrade to a greener version, in line with the increasing global focus on sustainability and clean energy.

Liu, a representative of the BFA, stated that there are wind turbine kits in front of the press center. These kits can generate electricity even when the winds are gentle, showcasing the innovative use of wind power. In addition to this, the facade of the building has been equipped with 629 solar panels that capture the abundant sunlight that Dongyu Island receives.

Behind the solar panels stands a gigantic “battery” that stores green electricity. The battery technology used is independently developed by a research team from Tsinghua University, showcasing the remarkable advancements in battery technology. This technology has a battery life that is nearly four times longer than traditional lithium batteries, highlighting the progress being made towards sustainable and long-lasting energy storage.

The press center has built a top-notch PEDF (photovoltaic, energy storage, direct current and flexibility) system. This system greatly reduces the press center’s annual power consumption from 650,000 kWh to 520,000 kWh, showcasing the significant reduction in energy consumption that can be achieved through sustainable practices. Furthermore, the press center also generates 550,000 kWh of electricity each year, demonstrating the benefits of investing in renewable energy sources.

Overall, these developments are a significant step towards achieving a more sustainable energy future on the island. By adopting green energy solutions, the island is not only reducing its carbon footprint but also promoting economic growth through the creation of new job opportunities in the renewable energy sector. These developments are expected to have a positive impact on the island’s environment, economy, and society as a whole.

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