Science & Technology Administrator
Suzhou Power Supply Company, State Grid Corporation of China
Lightning strikes are growing increasingly frequent with climate change, and with that comes increasing damage, says Chong Tong, the inventor of technology to help protect power grids from lightning hits.
His invention, Dynamic Lightning Protection or DLP, is designed to minimize the impacts of lightning strikes such as power disturbances and interruptions and help protect power transmission systems.
“I have devoted myself to the development and promotion of innovative and sustainable lightning protection technologies against worldwide lightning disasters for 20 years,” Tong told the UN Global Compact.
The UN Global Compact named Tong the 2022 SDG Pioneer for Climate Adaptation. The annual SDG Pioneer programme honors those in the business community who advocate for and advance the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
“To be selected as an SDG pioneer is a big event in my life,” he said.
“I believe the election is just a positive beginning which inspires me to devote myself to SDGs,” he added. “I choose this mission, not because it is easy, but because it's hard.”
Lightning flashes occur about 10 million times a day, and about half of power systems failures worldwide are related to lightning, said Tong, a native of Suzhou who earned his master’s degree in engineering at Wuhan University and his PhD at China’s Southeast University.
Combined with real time lightning tracking and warning, the DLP system takes preventive protection actions during lightning storms. The technology has entailed 36 published papers and 21 authorized patents.
Tang also has built an innovative laboratory for young people at his company, part of an effort to lead the young generation in China to participate in sustainable development.
The function of the Dynamic Lightning Protection system relates to SDG No. 7 regarding affordable and clean energy, SDG No. 9 regarding industry, innovation and infrastructure and SDG No. 13 on climate action, Tong said.
“The promotion of SDGs is of great significance to the development of human society,” he said.
“The work on SDGs is not a matter for a single country, but for the world. It is not a matter in a single field, but a common proposition of various industries,” he said. “Wide and effective international cooperation is necessary and important.”