Fuel cell technology has had positive and negative impacts on China’s government, education and religious sectors. Since China’s energy consumption has been increasing in the past few years, the need to find a wide variety of options of energy resources is of crucial importance to the continued growth of the country. One of the options taken by the Chinese government is the development and use of fuel cell technology in order to augment the energy supplies of the country along with several other benefits.
For one, fuel cell technology gave the Chinese government a decrease in its spending on foreign oil. Today, cars that depend on fuel cell technology are being produced and further developed in China. There are two apparent results to the increase in use of fuel cell technology among the huge Chinese population over the past few years: one is less dependency on foreign oil and, consequently, less government spending, and two is a decrease in air pollution.
These two results are interrelated in the sense that a lesser import and consumption of foreign oil translates to lesser carbon emissions. With China’s vibrant population travelling from one distance to another on a daily basis, transportation is considered to be vital for the growth of the nation and its people. More specifically, the development of Chinese buses operating on proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) has helped the people avail of other options in commuting locally.
As far as the education sector is concerned, the recent developments in the fuel cell technology have spurred interest among Chinese students and teachers. Local schools have slowly begun to discuss in classrooms the potential impacts of fuel cell technology, spreading a considerable level of awareness among the students. And as the Chinese government continues with its mission to further advance their knowledge on the applications and requirements of better fuel cell technology, the academe is also gaining in terms of level of awareness and of knowledge.
Proof to this is the fact that Shenli High Tech Co. has collaborated with the Shanghai Jiaotong University in developing the first fuel cell bus. Since fuel cell technology is considered as a “green” approach in providing energy to the Chinese people, several religious orders in China may find the technology appealing. For the most part, Buddhist monks and Taoist followers who have a high regard for the natural environment may be attracted to and even support the development of the fuel cell technology and the production of cars that use it.
However, since fuel cell technology such as hydrogen fuel cell requires another form of fuel in order to create the hydrogen needed for power, lesser dependency on fossil fuel should be observed so as to further gain the approval and support of the members of the religious system in China. The fact that the technology is still in its development stages means that the cost of the power it produces is still high and that there are still few machines in the market that require power from fuel cell technology.
It can also be said that there are still a number of uncertainties concerning the application of fuel cell technology on the things that the average Chinese citizen utilizes, from cooking utensils at home to transportation methods. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Chinese government is funding the further development of the technology in order to potentially save on resources in the future. But for the meantime, it can hardly be denied that the fuel cell technology is still in its development stage that requires a huge amount of funding from the national government with the help of several private corporations and schools.
Nevertheless, the long term effects of the new technology can be easily seen. As China’s population and energy consumption continue to grow, having a technology that enables the people to have an efficient fuel without the cost of further polluting the environment is already one big advantage.
Alternative Energy in China: Fuel Cell Development and Technology. (2005). Retrieved August 24, 2008, from http://www. business-in-asia. com/china/china_alternative_energy. htm Hydrogen Fuel Cells Monitor: China’s leap into hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. (2008). Retrieved August 24, 2008, from http://www. merit. unu. edu/hfc/article. php? nid=3