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Chinese school wins honors at Dubai climate summit

By Jan Yumul in Dubai, United Arab Emirates | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-12-02 12:29

Tang Yingxi (second left, front row), Jiang Huanlin (third left, front row) and other winners of the Zayed Sustainability Prize awards pose for a photo in Dubai, UAE, on Dec 1, 2023. [Jan Yumul / China Daily]

DUBAI -- A school from the People's Republic of China has won recognition at the prestigious Zayed Sustainability Prize awards ceremony held on Dec 1 at the 28th Conference of the Parties, or COP28, in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.

Beijing No 35 High School students Tang Yingxi, 17, and Jiang Huanlin, 18, along with their teacher Peng Minjie, bagged the Global High School awards in the East Asia and Pacific categories for their vacuum glass solar PV panels.

The panels could insulate heat and sound, and generate electricity simultaneously. They can also be applied to electric cars for emergency electricity generation, according to a video released by the Zayed Sustainability Prize.

Tang told China Daily they will use their prize money of $100,000 to replace some of the window glasses at their school as a test run to get their test data one year later. He said the data will be used "to improve our products and make them bigger".

Jiang said his role was mainly to construct the new glass for data collection and observation.

Peng said the award couldn't have come at a better time as their school is celebrating its centennial anniversary this year.

Tang Yingxi (center), the brains behind the solar PV panels, is joined by his team mate Jiang Huanlin and teacher Peng Minjie after the Zayed Sustainability Prize awards ceremony in Dubai, UAE, on Dec 1, 2023. [Jan Yumul / China Daily]

"At first, we thought we would not win because I had heard what previous winners had said about their products that had benefited so many people. And ours would benefit just 1,000 (in our school)." Peng told China Daily.

"I think why (Tang and Jiang) got the prize is that, maybe, because it's not just their ideas. It' the importance of designing those new materials, especially for such energy and new combined materials, for the school. This may be one of the considerations," she added.

Visiting the UAE for the first time, Peng and her students met UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who presented the awards to the 11 winners covering six categories at a ceremony attended by high-level guests.

Other winners included Kelp Blue of Namibia in the climate change category. Their creation has contributed to the restoration process of the natural ocean by cultivating seaweeds in deep waters.

In the health section, Indonesia's doctorSHARE -- a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding healthcare access in remote regions – took the award for creating floating hospitals.

In the energy category, the winner was Ignite Power from Rwanda, specializing in delivering solar-powered pay-as-you-go solutions to electrify communities.

In the water group, Eau et Vie -- a nonprofit organization from France -- won the honors by offering individual taps of clean water to impoverished urban residents in slum areas.

The Gaza Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture Platform, or GUPAP, from Palestine won in the food category for its contributions to supporting Gaza's agricultural sector.

Apart from China, other recipients of the Global High School Awards are the Colegio De Alto Rendimiento De La Libertad from Peru, representing the Americas; Gwani Ibrahim Dan Hajja Academy from Nigeria, which represents sub-Saharan Africa; and International School Morocco for the Middle East North Africa category.

The Northfleet Technology College of the United Kingdom, representing Europe Central Asia, and the KORT Education Complex from Pakistan, representing South Asia, were also recognized for their efforts.

The Zayed Sustainability Prize aims to perpetuate the legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founding father of the UAE, by honoring and supporting small and medium enterprises, nonprofit organizations, and secondary schools that offer sustainable solutions to address challenges in health, food, energy, water and climate.

In over 15 years, the prize has helped the lives of 384 million people worldwide through the innovative solutions presented by its 106 winners.

The Zayed Sustainability Prize also focuses on promoting youth engagement in sustainability through its Global High Schools category, which encourages youth to play active roles in supporting their communities and leading future sustainability efforts.

The winners in this category – some 47 global high schools -- "have positively impacted the lives of more than 55,186 students and 453,887 people in their local communities", according to the Zayed Sustainability Prize website.

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