Speech at the Opening Ceremony of the 22nd International Congress of Refrigeration
Prof. Henk van der Ree, on behalf of the International Institute of Refrigeration
August 22, 2007, Beijing, China
Mr. Chairman, distinguished hosts and Chinese colleagues and of course dear members of our vast IIR community, and those interested in our work.
Seven years ago China applied for hosting this 22nd International Congress of Refrigeration, as one of the three countries that prepared a bid. In the same year, by the way, China entered a bid for the Olympic games and on both tracks China appeared to be the winner. Our IIR country members, who had to choose between the three candidates by secret ballot, recognised the extremely rapid development of China, your fast growing international role in refrigeration and airconditioning and the serious commitment of the Chinese Association of Refrigeration, acting for the PRC. Our IIR International Congresses of Refrigeration serve to present an overview of recent scientific and technological developments with an outlook in the future and no doubt our international community expects a lot of China as an international player.
The IIR is very pleased with the choice for China. As you have heard already, China joined the IIR in 1978 and thanks to China’s size the IIR can state now that about 80% of the world population is connected with our institute. In the past 30 years China has been very active in the IIR with much input into our conferences and congresses, many papers in the International Journal of Refrigeration and with hosting conferences, such as the prestigeous Gustav Lorentzen Conference. Several young researchers from your side gained IIR awards in earlier congresses, a sign of quality.
Refrigeration and airconditioning belong to the most important technologies supporting our way of life.At the IIR congress in 1987 the late Prof. Lorentzen estimated the yearly, worldwide investment in refrigeration equipment at a 100 billion US dollars. Presently this is approximately 200 billion US dollars, according to an IIR report for UNEP a few years ago. These figures show the tremendeous production volume, but also the expansion in our field. Not to forget that the yearly value of refrigerated foodstuffs is at least 1200 billion US dollars. And in the light of our congress here, it is important to mention the large scope and number of technological developments: not less than 130 main research items have been identified by a survey of the IIR, indicating that an established domain shows many challenges for the future.
Compared to earlier times we are not talking only about the benefits of refrigeration for mankind, but we also have to deal with negative aspects related to energy and the environment. Where we have to do with this tension, the IIR is active in giving balanced views on preferred strategies. In doing so we have the advantage that our organization is composed of governmental officials, scientists and industrial members. We are a mixed organization and that is very unique. Another special feature is that the IIR is probably the oldest intergovernmental organization in the world, strong in surviving difficult times like the two worldwars and crises of various nature, thanks to its non political mission and an everlasting international support.
We feel well to be here in a future oriented country with a dynamic spirit, connected with an ancient and highly developed culture.At this place and moment there is no better motto for our IIR congress than you have brought up: Refrigeration creates the future.
Thank you so much.