Theodore "Ted" Venners 温立斯

Peace and Prosperity of China and US

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Why is Apple Getting into Renewable Energy reported by China-US Club

Apple has always been a technology company. However, things looks like to be changing lately with Apple’s recent federal license application to sell the excess energy. Apple’s latest move to trade extra electricity it generates from its campuses and facilities across Nevada, California and other states, directly to consumers has garnered quite a lot of attention in the energy industry.

Ever since businesses have managed to begin generating their own electricity through renewable and other resources, the entire electricity industry dynamics seem to be making a shift. Today, prosumers – companies that both produce and consume electricity – are growing rapidly and you may also join the ranks. In fact, the whole electric power industry model is moving away from a system where individual companies or government authorities held monopoly over electricity production and distribution, to a model where large corporations could do the same. These so called prosumers will not only offer cheap, renewable and environment-friendly energy but will also perhaps create and sell their equipments.

California, Texas, east of US and even north Chicago already boast of being the biggest power markets that deal with these eco-friendly products and services. The companies in these markets are licensed and monitored by Federal regulators, however, the key is to localize smaller versions of the industries with much simpler licensing mechanism that would encourage small businesses and even residents to get involved in this possible green revolution.

But only large corporations with massive energy consumption are more likely become prosumers – thanks to their huge facilities, and their resources to be able to trade electricity products.

A lot of these prosumers utilize their building rooftops, empty land spaces, even other structures like parking, R&D facilities, etc. to create their own energy. This is a huge opportunity for these businesses. A recent NREL study suggested that business rooftops has over 3 billion square feet empty space that can generate enough energy to create / meet up to 14% of US energy requirement.

With these many positives, it has become very common for large corporations to buy renewable energy from big vendors and also create their own power. In fact 50 plus top global companies have pledged to go 100% renewable in the coming years. The top 24 users of renewable energy include Google, Apple, Amazon Ikea, Wal-Mart, Facebook and few other giants – and they have together bought approximately 3.6 GW of renewable power in the past 1-2 years, sufficient enough to power 50% of Connecticut.

While many of these big players are trying to create and sell excess energy, Apple has silently built an energy subsidiary, ‘Apple Energy’ LLC, to able to trade power it generates.

[Apple Energy LLC] is a Delaware limited liability company and is a 100% wholly owned subsidiary of Apple Inc. [Contact is] Apple Energy LLC, One Infinite Loop, Cupertino, CA 95014.

Considering its enormous operations, energy requirement and also the ability to generate massive renewable solar electricity enables it to be a respected player in the industry. It currently purchases a significant amount of its required energy from large solar energy suppliers.

If a company as huge as Apple gets into the renewable business with a dedicated subsidiary, it could be huge. It could align Apple’s focus and allow it to explore the business with more seriousness. With Apple’s rumored electric car and other products that run on renewable solar power in the pipeline, the dawn of prosumers era is already here.

Trade Consequences on Tap If U.S. Exits Paris reported by the CHINA-US Club

International Trade Agreements are at the epicenter of any drastic change in policy, whether concerning politics, environment, climate change or energy. In the light of Donald Trump’s victory in the United States Presidential elections, and his stance of denial regarding climate change, there has been a natural increase in concern.

President-Elect Donald Trump’s suggestion to pull-out from the Paris Agreement and his critical view of the Trans Pacific Partnership might result in serious trade consequences if his proposals are converted into action over the course of the following months, once he is officially given the keys to the White House.
If indeed a back out becomes a reality, the reactions can range from cautionary to adverse, as explained by the Executive Director of the U.S. Energy Association, Mr. Barry Worthington:

“Their first reaction would be disbelief, but it certainly would have repercussions on other aspects of the United States-European relationship. It would be very much more difficult to get a favorable E.U.-U.S. trade agreement, for example. They would hold hostage a trade agreement if we renege on the Paris Agreement…we have diplomatic interests, we have national security interests, we have military interests, we have economic interests, we have trade interests with Europe. All of those are going to be affected if we pull out of the Paris Agreement.”

As for the effect of the Paris Agreement decision on the trade deals with neighbour Mexico, Mr. Worthington expressed no apparent cause for concern:

“Mexico is, for the first time, appearing more and more open for foreign investment. And those investment decisions are made by the U.S. private sector, not the U.S. government. Mexico, in the energy sector particularly, they need our capital, they need our technology, they need our know-how, and I don’t think that the Mexican government will allow political rhetoric to get in the way of doing what’s best for Mexico.”

Concerning the nature of United States-China trade relationship, Mr. Worthington suggests the PEOTUS Donald Trump’s comments will not bring any grave effect, rather a bolstering of partnership, as his remarks were aimed at the previous administration and not China:

“If we convene here in four years’ time, I think you’re going to find that there’s a better relationship between China and the United States in four years than what there is now, and a relationship that benefits both parties.”

With countries keeping their opinions close to their chests, it remains to be seen how the members involved in the World Energy Council will react to the state of the Paris Agreement, and the effect their reactions will have on international trade for the United States.

A Quick Look at the Key Indicator of Greenhouse Gas Emissions reported by China-US Club

The following chart describes the key indicator of emission of Greenhouse gases worldwide. It shows the emission of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and few other greenhouse gases from 1990 to 2010.

The emissions are described in million metric tons of CO2e carbon dioxide equivalents.


Figure 1: Global Gas Emissions by Gas, 1990 to 2010


Figure 2: Worldwide global gas emissions by sector, 1990-2010


Figure 3: Worldwide greenhouse emission by region, 1990-2010

Data Source

The above data of different indicators of greenhouse gas emission has been provided by World Research Institute’s CAIT Database. You can access it online at: http://cait.wri.org. CAIT gathered the above data from different organizations like the International Energy Agency, the U.S Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, and Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN.

Key Points

  1. In figure 1, methane, nitrous oxide and HFCs, PFCs and SF6 remained almost constant from 1990 to 2000. However, the CO2 emission increased consistently during the same period. Although former greenhouse gases saw minor increment with an increase of 15% in HFCs emission and 9% in nitrous oxide from 2000 to 2010, the CO2 emission increased rather significantly. In just 20 years, carbon dioxide net emission increased by almost 42%.
  2. The overall greenhouse gases emission increased from roughly 33 billion metric tons to almost 46-47 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e).Figure 2 and 3 describe the growth of greenhouse gas emissions by sector and by region respectively. While the energy sectors worldwide saw an increase by 71% in emissions, followed by agriculture sector with 13% increment. Figure 3 indicates that some regions of the world are emitting more carbon dioxide than the rest. For example Asia and United States saw maximum surge in the greenhouse gas emissions followed by Europe. Other regions’ emission such as Africa, Latin America, Canada remained significantly lesser.

The Future of Renewable Energy with Bill Gates reported by the CHINA-US Club

Renewable Energy has been in a constant state of development as Climate Change has become the forefront of international policies.

It is predicted that in the next two decades the worldwide energy consumption will increase by 50% compared to 2010. In 2015 alone, the global CO2 emission reached 36 billion tonnes, a steep 42% increase from the year 1990. The goal is to reduce it by 80% from what was emitted in the year 1990. Unfortunately, there has been an increase of energy demand challenging the growing desire to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.

With 1.3 billion people – which equals 18% of the world population – living without electricity, the demand of energy is justified. 70% of Sub Saharan Africa and 300 million people in India are deprived of electricity which can meet their basic demands of storing food, providing light and heat, and facilitate work and education.

The only viable balance to this increasing rift is the propagation of Renewable Energy, which is clean energy. But, Renewable Energy without sustainable models is expensive, and it needs to be cheap, easily accessible and reliable to attract investment.

In 2014, China was the highest emitter of CO2 at 27%, followed by the United States at 15.5%, with the European Union and India amounting to 9.5% and 7.2%. The Paris Summit set goals in the right direction, with the United States proposing to reduce carbon emissions to 28% by 2025, with the yardstick being the year 2005. Two hundred countries signed to reduce emissions, with developed industrialised nations ready to invest in renewable technology, with a total of 100 billion euros per year to low income economies to build them up as robust economies, furthering an effort to propagate renewable energy unilaterally.
Throughout his career, Microsoft founder Bill Gates has been more than just a software visionary. From bettering lives to creating jobs, from his philanthropic endeavours to environmental conservation, the Tech Guru has made substantial contributions to the world.

In a podcast interview with Stuff You Should Know, Bill Gates discussed the future of Renewable Energy, its obstacles and its pathways:

“When we think about energy, one of the key things is reliability. If you just have energy when the wind blows or in sunshine that’s not very helpful. When someone is freezing in their apartment on a winter night, they need energy. If you’re going to build a factory to say, build a car, because that’ll be a huge capital cost, it needs to run 24 hours a day, so it’s got to have reliable energy. And so, the market isn’t just for energy, the market is for totally reliable energy. Unfortunately, a lot of breakthroughs we have, like the wind and sun, we don’t have those directly generate electricity.

And storing electricity is very, very hard. All the batteries in the world today would not store, uh, every laptop, every car, everything, would not store hours worth of global energy. And batteries haven’t improved much in the last 100 years. They’re less than 3 times better than the battery that Edison, if he were revived, would recognise, which was a lead chemistry battery. Really, the lithium-ion has given us an improvement, but in order to truly work from the grid, you need a factor of 10. Anyway, it is very tough to make that work. We need to pursue breakthrough paths that don’t assume storage miracle, like if you take the sun directly and make liquid fuel, just say gasoline, or any hydro carbon, or any liquid, that’s easy to store. You put it in a tank, you put it in a pipe and the whole infrastructure is geared toward liquid transport. If you could possibly do that, it would be an advantage.

High wind sounds like a crazy idea, the solar fuel, what you’re calling synthetic photosynthesis, if it doesn’t work, people will say it is silly, well of course, but that’s brilliant. When nuclear energy came along, there was a quote from the head of the atomic energy commission, that the electricity would be too cheap to meter, now unfortunately he underestimated the complexities of radiation containment, and all other safety things, which in my view means that we need a whole new generation of reactors, whose safety characteristics are dramatically better and different than what we make today is called third generation. We need this fourth generation. We need to go down a dozen different paths, and even one that is still worth exploring is carbon capture and sequestration, with a little bit of extra chemistry, you take that fuel gas, which is about 12% co2, and you convert it to liquids and then you of course have to find a long-term storage.

If we can do the invention, if we can fund the R&D and maybe even pursue pilot plans to get the economies upscale with learning curve benefits and then if we could offer to them a form of electrification that is non-polluting, then you get the best of both worlds, if you can’t, then they have a dilemma.”

Bill Gates urges for the same goals as the World Energy Council, as in the collective economic development of the world in order to invest, innovate, sustain and propagate Renewable Energy throughout the planet.

Climate Action Project reported by China-US club

Susan Joy Hassol submitted a series of Questions and Answers – Emissions Reductions Needed to Stabilize Climate – for Presidential Climate Action Project where she answers some of the key questions surrounding the climate change.

Temperature Threshold for Global Warming
On the question about what should be threshold of global temperature so that the global warming effects doesn’t turn adverse, Susan said the current temperature is already very high and unusual. In fact, several analysts claim that we have already crossed the dangerous territory and that immediate steps should be taken to avoid catastrophic consequence. Most climate change experts, the European Union have come to a conclusion that in order to severe damages, the temperature should be kept under 2°C/3.5°F compared to the pre-industrial levels.

Even if the temperature is mentioned between the above levels, there is no guarantee it would avoid severe impact, however if it increases beyond this point, that is when a real problem may arise and the damage may become irreversible. Few experts even suggested that the principal criteria for defining “dangerous” must also have sea level rise and extinction of species, highlighting the risk if the temperature doesn’t stabilize within the said limit.

Limits on Atmospheric Concentrations of CO2 and CO2e to Maintain That Temperature
Several analysts and climate measurement models have suggested the CO2 and CO2e must peak below 400 to 450 ppm. However, it is said that there is no single precise number since the sensitivity of the climate system to greenhouse gases is yet to be known accurately. Different models offer some or the other difference in the levels, but within this range. Also, the current atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and CO2e (Carbon dioxide equivalent) is said to be around 382 ppm, which is increasing by around 2 ppm per year. While global warming experts suggest that 450 ppm is a reasonable target to try and keep the climate change under control, it isn’t really precise point below which are in the safe zone and above which we are in red zone. They argue that, the lower the level, the better; the higher it gets, the more dangerous threats it carries.

Relationship Between CO2 and CO2e
The CO2 and CO2e have quite a complicated relationship. Both the gases are expected to shift at varied rates because the concentration of each gas shift at its own rate based on the emissions; hence there’s no constant method to convert CO2 to CO2e or vice versa. The cooling effects of the sulfate aerosols and cooling influences is cancelled because both CO2 and CO2e are approximately same because the warming effects of both these gases and other non-CO2 greenhouse gases are also approximately same.

One of the reasons for this is – different systems measure CO2e differently.

How Fast Should The Emissions to Meet the Temperature Target of 450 ppm.
If the CO2 concentrations are to be stabilized at about 450 ppm by 2050, then worldwide emissions need to be reduced by almost 60-70%. Industrial emission must be reduced by almost 80% by 2050. A study by Duke University’s Nicholas School suggested an idea – to reach that target each of the G8 countries should combinely reduce emissions by 2% every year beginning in 2011 for the next 40 years resulting in 80% reduction. Along with this, the other five developing countries including China, Brazil, South Africa, India and Mexico could begin a similar program ten years later agreeing to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 2% a year beginning in 2021.

The Cost of Such Initiatives

According to some reports, this program would cost a combined GDP of almost 3% of the world by 2030. In other words, this would result in annual GDP reduction by 0.12%. To explain this with an example, the US economy that currently grows at 3.20% will grow at 3.08. So economically, it wouldn’t cost a huge to the world.

The Stern review in fact concludes that:

The benefits are strong, early action considerably outweigh the costs.

Key References
IPCC (2007). The Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge University Press.

The Stern Review on the Economic of Climate Change (2006). Cambridge University Press.

Meinshausen, M. (2006). What does a 2°C target mean for greenhouse gas concentrations? A brief analysis based on multi-gas emission pathways and several climate sensitivity uncertainty estimates. In Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change, J. S. Schellnhuber, W. Cramer, N. Nakicenovic, T. M. L. Wigley and G. Yohe. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Kasibhatla and Chamedies (2007). G8 Leadership is Critical to Curbing Energy-Related CO2 Emissions. Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, Duke University.

Jack Ma Partners with Bill Gates to Buy into US $1 Billion Zero-Energy Fund Business reported by China-US Club

Jack Ma and Bill Gates, the two visionaries of the present generation have taken an important step into energy business innovation. Both the technology giants, along with 18 other businesses have joined hands to create a Breakthrough Energy Ventures fund to support the next generation of zero-energy businesses.

The fund is specifically created to help growth-level startups and companies across the world that foster innovation in the supply of energy, food, transportation, products and services sectors to find, create solutions that are cost-effective and also have zero-emission in the production and supply.

“Anything that leads to cheap, clean, reliable energy we’re open-minded to,” Gates told online media quartz.com.
The co-founder of technology giant, Microsoft, Bill Gates admitted that investing in energy was more difficult than investing in the IT sector.

“People think you can just put US$50 million in and wait two years and then you know what you got. In this energy space, that’s not true at all, said Bill Gates.”

The Breakthrough Energy Ventures fund – with its core objective to encourage entrepreneurs solve the energy problems across varied industries – consists of the members of Breakthrough Energy Coalition. The fund will be invested in companies over a span of 20 years, offering long-term financial support and to help them build products across sectors – with energy generation and consumption – that do not release harmful gases linked to global warming.

Bill Gates announced the fund’s initiative during the Paris global event on national measures to limit and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, last year. The fund consists of around 28 rich individual and families with a total networth of over $170 billion dollars, including founders and co-founders of some of the world’s largest corporations. Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Mukesh Ambani, Julian Robertson and few other billionaires are a part of it.

Jack Ma was quoted as saying,

“This fund’s establishment amalgamates innovation, scientific knowledge and talents needed to change the energy market. When it comes to energy, some people would say energy projects cannot meet consumers’ demand, profit and environment protection objectives all at the same time. But we can, and we will realise it.”

Energy and Climate so interconnected… Reported by the CHINA-US Club

President-Elect Donald Trump has stirred a pandemonium in the World Energy Council by suggesting a withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement.  With the interconnection shared by energy and climate, such drastic measures, even merely in the form of a plan on paper without concrete action, can be a cause for concern on the international front.

The United States ability to generate energy can be directly affected by the changes in sea level, temperature and the frequency of occurrences of climate-based unrest. But, at the same time, the manner and extent of energy consumption contributes to climate change, with greenhouse gas emissions due to the use of fossil fuels accounting for 84% in the United States.

And though the President-elect Trump has softened his stance and has been open to review and suggestions, a possible backing out can have adverse effects, invoking apprehension from other members of the World Energy Council, particularly the Europeans, as explained to E&E News by Barry Worthington, Executive Director of the United States Energy Association:

“Particularly Europeans because they’re more concerned over climate issues than people from other continents, they would be very surprised because, again, they don’t understand as clearly as we do the notion that you have one administration that can do one thing, Congress can do something else, the next administration, the next Congress can do something completely — completely different.”

Mr. Worthington added that if the U.S. does pullback from the Paris Agreement, the Europeans will deem it to be a decision of the United States as a government, and not a decision from the current administration:

“I will say they see the Paris Agreement as a commitment of the United States. They don’t see the Paris Agreement as a commitment of the Obama administration. And again, it’s just their nature of looking at our set of governance versus what they’re familiar with. So, if there’s a pullback, they would be very disappointed because, again, they would see it as a lack of commitment on the United States of America, not a lack of commitment from one administration versus the other.”

The outcome of such an unfulfillment and annulment of the Paris Agreement will not bode well for the United States, on both the Environmental and Energy fronts, and might raise genuine concerns for the furthering of Climate Protection efforts undertaken collectively by the World Energy Council, given the United States quintessential role in the world theatre of Climate Change.

Can China Be The Global Green Giant Environmental Safeguards Reported by the CHINA-US Club

In an unprecedented chain of events, China has swiftly emerged as the leading voice for environmental protection.

The industrial behemoth, responsible for four decades of air and water degradation through rampant urbanization and over-dependence on fossil fuels, has opened dialogues with the United States to make substantial efforts toward safeguarding the environment, with the November Miracle of PEOTUS Trump’s unforeseen presidential election victory acting as a catalyst.

President-Elect Trump has vehemently campaigned against climate-change warnings, labelling voices of concern as a propaganda of the Chinese Government. President Xi Jinping pledged his nation’s support in curbing environmental degradation and alleviating climate change concerns proactively to a now undecided President-Elect Trump who has been in constant denial. Furthermore, the PEOTUS was reminded that climate negotiations were a product of former POTUS Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

But, even though the Chinese Government has undertaken the initiative, the concerns emanated by its carbon emissions have been alarming, with the aforementioned emissions seeing a threatening rise of 8.5 gigatonnes in 2012 from 5.46 million tonnes in 1950.

A Change Necessitated By Crisis

China, a nation with the largest population, largest production and consumption of energy, is also the largest defector of the environment with its unequalled carbon emission. The industrial pollution has not only affected the country – with 366,000 coal pollution linked deaths in 2013 – but has also resulted in affecting the western front of the United States, and the islands of Japan and South Korea with acid rain a direct consequence.
Under pressure from climate change activists within and outside the country, China has cast itself in a responsible role, undertaking initiatives and devising national plans to fight environmental decay by rebalancing its energy production and consumption, and aiming to reduce carbon intensity to 40-45 per cent by 2020.

Several strategies have been drawn to bring about a step by step change, chiefly by proactively enabling renewable energy and curbing sectors that are prone to dangerous levels of pollution. Licensing requirements have seen a strict regulation from environmental protection bureaus, as Beijing lays out plans to shut down 1,000 coal-run power plants.

A Glimmer Amidst The Dust

While it tackles the menace of industrial pollution and fossil fuel based environmental poisoning, China has also emerged as the world’s leading investor in renewable energy, surpassing both France and Germany and spending 36 percent of the world’s total investment in wind, water and solar energy in 2015.
Beijing has been wise to tackle any deterrents on the political front in its crusade against environmental degradation, by punishing the top brass of companies responsible for chemical-related accidents, and jailing the likes of former deputy environment minister Zhang Lijun for accepting bribes of 2.4 million yuan (HK $2.6 million).

Despite Beijing’s efforts to repair the damages, there is much more to be done on the environmental protection front, as threats of local unrest loom even with an increasing number of the population voicing against the country’s maltreatment of regulations.

The stalling of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and China’s leadership in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership have opened doors to a more conscious change. Taking Beijing as a yardstick, both the Chinese Government and its citizens need to collectively work toward establishing China as the definite global voice for environmental reparation.

Google will run entirely on Renewable Energy reported by China-US Club

Renewable energy is the future – take it or leave it. Tech giants like Google, Apple and even Microsoft are leading the race to reach that future. With that goal, Google announced that in the year 2017, it will completely move to renewable energy. Now that could be huge for the industry, for a couple of reasons:

  1. Google consumes as much energy as the entire city of San Francisco. So going 100% renewable simply means a massive amount of energy saving.
  2. Google is a role model for hundreds and thousands of startups, tech companies across the world, who try to emulate many things that it does. So this could possibly inspire a large percent of small and medium scale startups to move towards renewable energy methodologies. In other words, it could lead to a tectonic shift in people’s perception about renewable energy sources.

The online giant announced that all of its data centers across the world will be resourced by renewable energy from mid 2017. Google has been partnering with several renewable electricity producers across the world for the past few years by promising them that they would purchase energy produced via turbines and solar cells from them – allowing these energy companies to obtain loans, bank financing, etc.

The way it works is – Google plans to plug the power generated by renewables right into the utility grid, which ensures that Google’s usage does not present net consumption of fossil fuels yet the electricity receives a huge chunk of renewable resources.

Google’s senior vice president of technical infrastructure, Joe Kava was quoted as saying

“We are the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the world, it’s good for the economy, good for business and good for our shareholders.”
The reason why Google is said to be relying on wind supplies is because unlike Carbon-based power, their prices are relatively stable, enabling Google to forecast, prepare better.

In fact, in some places like Chile, renewables are less expensive than the fossil fuels, said Mr. Kava.

A company as enormous as Google getting into renewables is good for the entire industry. With its huge data centers and gigantic computer complexes, Google is definitely among the world’s biggest and fastest-growing new consumers of renewable electricity. To give a quick insight on how big this could be – currently 25% of US electricity goes to business, out of which tech players like Google make up to 2% of it. A recent report suggested that Dominion Virginia Power had an increase in demand by almost 9% from such tech companies.

Google currently owns 13 large data-centers and few smaller ones as well and each data center consists of hundreds and thousands of computers running 24/7.

Jonathan Koomey, a professor in the school of earth, energy, environmental sciences at Stanford said,
“the 5.7 terawatt-hours of electricity Google consumed in 2015 is equal to the output of two 500 megawatt coal plants, and for one company to be doing this is a very big deal. It means other companies of a similar scale will feel pressure to move.”
What this also means for the industry is – when you have corporates with such massive consumption, the production will obviously increase, resulting in lower prices. In fact, Mr. Koomey added,

every time the production is doubled, the cost of solar is reduced by almost 20 percent. Wind goes down 10 to 12 percent.”
This announcement hasn’t come without any criticism. Critics suggested that even though Google might be preparing to move completely towards renewables, it will still have to be dependent on fossil fuels – thanks to the intermittence of wind and sun and the constant demand for stuff like YouTube cat videos.

“In my mind it’s a P.R. gimmick,” said Chris Warren, vice president of communications at the Institute for Energy Research, a think tank in Washington. “If they think they can actually support themselves with wind and solar panels, they should connect them directly to their data centers.”


Whether Google will actually be able to move 100% on renewables in 2017 is an only time can tell. What we could say is – if Google does manage to accomplish 80% of what it plans, than other big companies will feel pressured to move.

Feature: Chinese Nanotechology shows its worth in Nevada

SMITH VALLEY, the United States, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) — Suffering from its fourth straight year of drought, Smith Valley in Northern Nevada, a former crop-rich area, is now full of withered grass. However, an alfalfa crop field here continues to flourish despite its depressing surroundings.

Supported by a Chinese nanotechnology all-natural soil amendment, farmers here were talking and laughing one morning after a successful cut.

Even though exact data of the hi-tech materials for saving water and nourishing crops would have to be confirmed weeks later in a lab, crop advisor Ralph Nuti said in the field, “I can tell from the appearance that these alfalfa with Nanotech are better.”

The impact of climate change and water scarcity has brought extreme drought to California, Nevada and other western states in the United States, forcing California to order a mandatory statewide 25-percent water reduction in 2015.

Earlier this year, an American engineer Ted Venners found a solution to use less water for the same amount of crops: ZG NanoSim, a soil-improving material based on nanotechnology and created by Dr. Shi Changxu, the “Father of Material Sciences” in China.

“Nanotechnology is a system of making micro materials very small and then they will usually have 8 sides holding together like a honey comb,” Venners told Xinhua. “Therefore, they are able to hold the water better and hold the nutrients in it, so you do not lose the water in the ground and the water does not evaporate that fast.”

By helping lock water, fertilizers and nutrients inside the soil or sand, ZG NanoSim could substantially reduce water evaporation and drainage, while increasing fertilizer absorption by plants.

In March, an America team led by Nuti started a NanoSim test on an alfalfa crop in Smith Vally. He worked with the Chinese team and designed the test: they divided a 5-acre alfalfa field into 12 test plots with four control groups. Thursday was the time for the first official cutting.

“The purpose of the test was to demonstrate that we could produce the same amount of alfalfa with 30 percent less water,” Venners said. “In addition, we found that there is more nutrition and more value in the alfalfa than the ones without the Sims. There was a 10 to 30 percent increase in protein.”

“The NanoSim particles, when they hold water in the soil, it gets nutrient in that water, when it stores that water, it stores that nutrient,” Nuti added.

Alfalfa is the major crop in Smith Vally. Growing alfalfa requires plenty of water, however, the average rainfall in Smith Vally is only 77 mm to 102mm per year, far less than that of the Western United States, which is 400 mm to 500mm.

As an all-natural product, ZG NanoSim looks just like fine sand. Farmers apply the NanoSim into the soil before planting the seeds. Experts suggest reapplying the Sim annually by spread the product on the field and then fully water it to let them get into the soil.

Venners’ team also tested this product on residential lawns in Las Vegas for eight months. Rick Grant, application specialist for Sims, was trained by the Chinese team and supervised the lawn test.

“We want to see how would this product holds up when the temperature is consistently over 100 Fahrenheit (38 Centigrade),” Grant said, “and the result is with 50 percent less irrigation.”

In August, University of Nevada, Las Vegas also started a lawn test on campus.

Meanwhile, Venners’ team is preparing for more tests and aims to introduce the Chinese Nanotechnology to more American farms.

“This product is something that we really need. Nevada is the driest state in the Unites States. California and Nevada both have extreme droughts going on. We also have a lot of agriculture inside both states,” Grant Anderson, who is in charge of the business development on Venners’ team, told Xinhua.

“With record-breaking temperature, and our rainfall is not getting any better, we really need a solution that can help all of these farmers to save their farms and grow their products.”

Source URL: http://english.sina.com/news/2016-09-15/detail-ifxvyrit2606477.shtml

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