Translator:Henyee TranslationsEditor:Henyee Translations
The CEO of China Petroleum, Wang Yongping, attended meetings for the entire morning. When he walked out of the conference room and looked at his notes, he had a complicated expression on his face.
Since the beginning of the month, the upper management team had made a series of energy development adjustments. During the meeting, they made detailed arrangements for the development plans of several state energy companies for the next five years.
As for the content of the meeting
It wasnt good news for Chinas petroleum industry.
First of all, the upper limit of offshore investment was reduced by around US$130 billion. Secondly, the signed contracts had remained unchanged and the expansion of overseas oil and gas fields had to be stopped within three years.
Not only that, but there were also plans like 50,000 electric vehicle charging stations within two years and every gas station on the highway has to have four electric charging stations.
This all indicated that the state seemed to be eager to remove petroleum fuel from the hands of civilians.
In fact, he wasnt confused by the upper managements decision. After all, the amount that China spent on foreign energy imports each year was staggering.
However, even though he understood why the upper management was doing this, he was still aching.
Especially the offshore investment, which was the most profitable part.
Now that it had been reduced, he couldnt help but feel the pain.
But they didnt even receive the worst end of the stick.
They were still lucky compared to the coal companies that had been obliterated.
Just the reduction in coal production capacity alone gave headaches to countless people.
Especially for the laid-off workers and the local economy of several coal-producing provinces
Wang Yongping had a headache just by thinking about these problems.
It wasnt just these energy mining companies; two major power grids and five major electric utility enterprises were also assigned their respective tasks.
In particular, they made adjustments plans for the residential electricity price while taking fusion power generation into account.
However, the electric companies had actually received a lot of benefits at this meeting.
In particular, the cross-regional transmission project to Laos and Myanmar.
If they could complete this project, it wouldnt matter if they could make a profit or not, it would be a huge success for Chinas future energy development
If they could export energy to neighboring countries, that would mean that China would have a stronger influence in that particular country.
Wang Yongping couldnt help but admit he was jealous.
He was stuck in the same place.
But there was nothing he could do, he just got unlucky.
With this controllable fusion technology breakthrough, both domestic and foreign political stances would be restructured to account for this increase in productivity.
Of course, as usual, some people were happy and some people were worried.
However, the fate of each individual was often neglected in a time like this.
History was irreversible, nothing could stop it from moving forward.
The entire year of 2020 would probably be in chaos.
However, Lu Zhou, who personally kicked off this new era, was having a much better time.
He even had time to go on TV.
The day before Chinese New Year, the Light of Science live studio was filled with people.
Lu Zhou walked on stage in the midst of the applause. He smiled and waved at the audience. He then sat on the sofa.
After he sat on the sofa, he briefly looked at the audience members.
These people were relatively young, and most of them seemed to have come from local universities. Some of them might have come from high school or even middle school.
The audience all looked excited, and their applause was getting more and more energetic.
However, Lu Zhou wasnt sure if these people were actors who were hired by the program production team.
Ill just pretend theyre not actors.
He Ying was sitting beside Lu Zhou, and she looked at Lu Zhou and smiled.
Professor Lu, are you feeling better?
Lu Zhou smiled and nodded. Ive basically recovered. Otherwise, I wouldnt be sitting here with you today.
The audience chuckled.
The camera hanging above the studio gave the audience a few close-ups of Lu Zhou.
The production department hoped that they could use this opportunity to convey to the public and the international community that Lu Zhous health was improving.
Even though Lu Zhou wasnt sure if this was the reasoning behind this interview, he still agreed to come here today.
After all, it was true that his body had mostly recovered.
He felt guilty, especially since he knew that a lot of people were worried about his health.
After some small talk to lighten up the atmosphere, He Ying smiled and said to Lu Zhou, Before the show begins, I want to ask you a few questions that we took from our audience.
Lu Zhou rested his hands on his knees. He leaned back on the sofa and said, Ask away, Ill answer to the best of my abilities.
Dont worry, Professor Lu, these questions are very easy. He Ying looked at the cards in her hand and said, The first question is from our netizen friend in Jiangsu.
He expressed his concern about the thermal pollution impact of controllable fusion. What do you think about this concern?
Theres someone that knows about thermal pollution?
Lu Zhou raised his eyebrows with interest. He didnt expect this.
It looks like these audience members are quite knowledgeable.
At least they didnt ask if fusion reactors are more explosive than fission reactors.
Lu Zhou thought for a bit and said, Global warming is a systematic topic. Lets not discuss the possibility of thermal pollution, but rather think about this from a scientific perspective.
He Ying: Scientific perspective?
Lu Zhou: Thats right, the frame of reference is a high school physics topic. Which is that, when one studies the motion of a moving object, one would have to choose a suitable reference frame, then study the relative motion of the object to the reference frame.
An example is a runner. When we talk about his running speed, we dont talk about the frequency of his steps or the speed at which his arms swing. Instead, we look at him as a whole system and compare his speed to the ground. The ground is used as the reference system so that we can calculate his displacement and time relative to the starting point.
For a large and complex system like the earth, we cant just isolate one aspect. We should discuss it as a whole, on both the spatial and time scales.
Talking about the environmental impact that controllable fusion energy has on the earth is a non-scientific way of thinking about this.
Whether it is thermal power or nuclear power, theyre all just ways of generating electricity. The metric that determines the value of social production isnt electricity. They are needs and demands.
He Ying: Needs?
Lu Zhou nodded and said, Thats right.
Controllable fusion would accelerate the increase of productivity, but would productivity stop without controllable nuclear fusion? Obviously not.
As long as there was a need for development, as time went by, civilization would continue to develop. However, the speed of said development would be relatively slow, and there would be more obstacles on the way.
The audience didnt seem to understand what Lu Zhou was saying, so Lu Zhou put it in an easier to understand manner.
On a short time scale, controllable fusion technology is able to slow down global warming. The energy conversion efficiency of traditional thermal power technology is about 35%, which means that in order to produce 1 unit of electricity, we have to release 2.85 units of heat by burning coal. This release of heat corresponds to carbon dioxide and other sulfur gases in our atmosphere.
However, controllable fusion doesnt have this problem. Using the ferrofluid electric energy generator on the STAR-2 demonstration reactor, the energy conversion efficiency is 50%, and there is still room for improvement. Which means that for every 1 unit of electricity, we only need to produce 2 units of heat. Also, there are no greenhouse gas emissions.
China is a huge energy consumer, we account for half of the worlds total energy consumption. If we make a difference in our carbon emissions, the whole world will follow us.
As for looking at this from a longer time scale, then one would have to consider more than just human behavior. There were other long-term factors that were more impactful.
For example, the solar magnetic activity cycle.
The solar activity had a high probability of entering Maunder Minimum halfway through the 21st century. The heat that would reach Earth was 0.3% smaller than the maximum.
What did 0.3% mean?
In Mr. Zhu Kezhens History of Chinas Meteorology, the four ice ages in history were just a special cycle of Chinese civilizations. And these were the four dynasties; the late Han Dynasty, the late Tang Dynasty, the late Ming Dynasty, and the early Qing Dynasty. Take the Ming Dynasty as an example. According to historical records, the Dongting Lake had a foot of ice on top of it. The Yangtze River was frozen and the moon was nowhere to be seen. This was all due to the powerful solar cycle.
The heat released by human activities was minuscule compared to solar activity.
At least for now, humans were a long way from competing against a star.
However, Lu Zhou couldnt go this in-depth during the show, as the TV program time was limited