Category: Environment Sciences
Data Desk® at Work in the China Energy Technology Program
Data Desk plays a visionary role in an industrious effort to formulate sustainable strategies for power generation in China. With China's economy growing at the rate of about 10 percent annually, its electrical needs are escalating dramatically and, along with them, the prospect of a similar rise in air pollution, which is already a significant health and environmental threat. In fact, more than 1 million Chinese people die every year from diseases related to air pollution. For the Chinese government, however, the challenging fact remains that coal is a major natural resource.
The China Energy Technology Program, or CETP, is a 2-year international research effort that involves nine scientific institutions from around the world and the industrial and academic communities within China. Its goal is to assess the "real" - cradle to grave - costs and risks of generating electricity by burning coal. It is directed by ABB, a global corporation specializing in power and automation technologies and environmental awareness. The researchers developed an extensive database on the many interconnected variables that influence power generation - demand, costs, amelioration effectiveness, environmental impact - and sought to model strategy options that optimized power generation and environmental sustainability. The modeling process is where Data Desk and the Paul Scherrer Institut, a Swiss government lab and research participant in the CETP, come in.
Warren Schenler, an energy systems analyst at the Paul Scherrer Institut, used Data Desk to investigate the outcomes of various generating strategies. Data Desk's intuitive exploratory capabilities allowed Warren and his colleagues to instantaneously see the effects of changing variables and scenarios. This meant their models would incorporate the most pertinent data and accurately simulate the "real" costs and risks for each generating strategy.
As an indication of Data Desk's essential role in the CETP, Warren has included a Data Desk Viewer in the ABB's official report. This allows the reader to see and interactively explore for themselves the information and thinking that drives the researchers' conclusions.
Name: Warren Schenler
Organization: Paul Scherrer Institute
Location: Villigen, Switzerland
Version: Data Desk 6 on Windows and Macintosh