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Research

Alternative Energy-Efficient and Low-Pollution Township and Village Enterprise and State Owned Enterprise Technologies in China
Professor Karen R. Polenske

This is one of two long-term, multidisciplinary regional projects as part of the MIT Alliance for Global Sustainability.

This project is an extensive multi-year national and regional analysis of factors contributing to the very rapid, over 50%, decrease in energy intensity (energy consumption per unit of output) in the People's Republic of China (China) since the late 1970s.

Article "Cleaning up China's Cokemaking Sector: Unexpected Research Findings" in English (article starts on page 5), and in Chinese, translated by Shi Xiaoyu.

Currently, the team of 15 professors and students are focusing on alternative technologies available for the cokemaking sector in Shanxi Province. They have conducted surveys of cokemaking plant managers in township and village enterprises (TVEs) and state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and of local officials in the relevant towns and villages.

So far, they have found an interesting paradox. On the one hand, the so-called machinery technologies used by most of the SOEs are more energy efficient and less polluting than the technologies used by the TVEs. On the other hand, the SOEs are less economically efficient than the TVEs.

They will begin a second set of surveys in 2000-2001 to determine what changes have occurred in the past two years, especially in response to the recent closure of some of the most-polluted plants.

They are also exploring the employment implications of using the alternative technologies and the supply-chain effects on plant locations, using geographic information system models of plant locations and transportation flows of coal and coke in the Provinces.

The second project, the TEEH project, looks at the household use of energy and generation of pollution, examining the personal exposure of cokemaking workers in the plant, journey to and from work, and in the home.