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Visiting professor puts focus on renewable energy findings
12/13/12

 Xuesong Li, visiting professor in Alfred University’s (AU) Kazuo Inamori School of Engineering and celebrated Chinese renewable energy expert, gave a major presentation titled “Farmers’ Willingness in Transforming Traditional Houses to Solar Houses in Rural China – Surveying 456 Households Surrounding Chongqing,” and continued his research on the feasibility of solar houses throughout the fall 2012 semester.

Reflecting the recent move by the Alfred University Kazuo Inamori School of Engineering to add a renewable energy major to its curriculum, a number of AU students eager to learn more about a field gaining increasing relevance, both at the University and beyond, attended Li’s presentation. Among these were members of AU’s China 2013 Project Student Group.

The Alfred University student group is part of “Team Alfred,” which also includes students from Alfred State College and Guilin University of Technology, China. The team is officially entered into the Solar Decathlon China 2013. A total of 37 universities from 13 countries have formed 24 teams that were accepted for the 2013 competition, co-hosted by the China National Energy Administration and the United States Department of Energy.

Organized by Peking University, the Solar Decathlon China 2013 is “an internationally award-winning program, challenging collegiate teams to design, build and operate solar-powered energy efficient houses. The competition will showcase cutting-edge solar energy and energy-efficiency technologies and solutions, and provide support to the new energy industry as well as energy efficient urban development.”

AU’s student group, along with Li and several other faculty members, meets twice weekly, once to discuss the solar house and once to discuss solar electricity.

The objective of Li’s study presentation was to analyze the factors in using solar harvesting technologies while remodeling traditional houses.

Li concluded from his research that a number of factors affect the willingness of rural Chinese farmers to adopt solar harvesting technologies into their daily lives. The Chinese government could play a critical role, noted Li, if it would, for example, offering a subsidy (many rural farmers live day-to-day in regard to expenses) and/or draft new policies to encourage solar harvesting. One factor discouraging farmers from making the switch are potential out-of-pocket starting costs, he emphasized. A government role would have a positive impact, as do the favorable opinions offered to farmers by neighbors and relatives who have already begun the process, Li added.

Li has recently submitted an abstract on his work for a possible presentation at the ASME conference in July 2013. ASME, founded as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, is a professional association that, promotes the art, science, and practice of multidisciplinary engineering and allied sciences.

An associate professor at Chongqing Electronic College in Chongqing City, China, Li will be at Alfred University through August, 2013.