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CHINA SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY NEWSLETTER(2012 NO.4)

  China Promotes Desalination Industry

According to a document released recently by the Chinese State Council to gear up the development of seawater desalination industry in the country, China will secure a desalination capacity of 2.2-2.6 million cubic meters of seawater a day in 2015. At the same time, Chinese made raw materials and equipment will take up 70% of the total used in the well-functioned desalination industry chain, with the key technology, equipment, and materials R&D and manufacturing capabilities reaching an internationally advanced level.

The document says the development of desalination industry should focus on the following aspects: 1) strengthen the R&D of key technology and equipment; 2) raise the engineering and technological capabilities; 3) establish multiple desalination bases; 4) form up an industrial desalination alliance; 5) stage seawater desalination demonstration projects; 6) build seawater desalination demonstration cities; 7) promote the use of desalinated water; and 8) perfect a desalination standard system.

China embarked on the seawater desalination R&D in the 1950s. During the 11th Five-year period (2006-2010), the seawater desalination industry saw a rapid development, along with a range of pilot projects. In 2005, China issued a special planning for seawater utilization. As of the end of 2011, China has developed a seawater handling capacity of 660,000m3/day, or 13 times the capacity registered in 2005. Thanks to years of research and experiment, China has mastered core desalination technologies, including reverse osmosis and low-temperature multi-effects. China is now able to manufacture a desalination device able to handle 10,000 tons of seawater a day, a low-temperature multi-effect desalination unit for a daily capacity of 12,500 cubic meters, and a reverse osmosis desalination unit at a daily capacity of 10,000 cubic meters, with their major technical and economic indicators reaching an internationally advanced level.

Most Stringent Water Resources Management

HU Siyi, Chinese Vice-Minister of Water Resources, recently highlighted the major points in a document recently released by the State Council to practice a most stringent water management system. HU said the system focuses on "three red lines" and “four systems”. The three red lines include a red line that defines water resources development and utilization, under which the total water that can be used by the entire country has to be confined to 700 billion cubic meters in 2030, a red line for water efficiency that will raise China’s water use efficiency to an internationally advanced level in 2030, or specifically 40 cubic meters of water consumption for RMB 10,000 industrial added value, and 0.6 for cropland irrigation water efficiency, and a red line for wastewater that makes the major pollutants into the rivers and lakes part of the pollution bearing capacity of functional waters, in a bid to raise the water quality compliance rate to 95%. The “four systems” are meant for total water control, water use efficiency control, functional waters’ pollutants control, and water resources management appraisal.

To achieve the goals, the document further aligns a range of phase targets for both 12th Five-year period (2011-2015) and 2020: the total water used be confined to 635 billion cubic meters in 2015; 30% down of the water consumed for RMB 10,000 industrial added value, compared with 2010; a raised cropland irrigation water efficiency to 0.53; and a raised water quality compliance rate to 60% or above for major rivers and lakes.

In 2020, the total water use will be confined to 670 billion cubic meters; the water consumed for RMB 10,000 industrial added value will be reduced to less than 65 cubic meters, a further raised cropland irrigation water efficiency to 0.55; and a further raised water quality compliance rate to 80% or above for major rivers and lakes, with all urban source water quality reaching the desired standard.

Robot Walking on Antarctic Ice Sheets

The nearly two-month trial has fine-tuned the Chinese made roaming robot to pass a 30-kilometer autonomous walking test on Antarctic ice sheets, the first of its kind made by a Chinese robot.

The robot, weighing half a ton, can be operating under an extreme temperature as low as -40 °C. The robot in orange color looks more like an off-road jeep, with a body being designed with a suspension chassis, also like an off-road car. Its four wheels are replaced by triangular caterpillars to enhance its walking capability on ice and snow. It comes with an automated driving system, capable of ice and snow terrain identification and assessment, GPS navigation, and autopiloting.

researchers have made a range of tests to see the performance of robot’s moving mechanisms, ice probing radar, and long-distance autonomous walk from last December 9 to this February 5, on ice-covered areas near the Zhongshan Station and the inland staging area. The robot is designed to conduct an autonomous scientific investigation over an area of about 60,000 square kilometers across ​​the Amery ice shelf. In this context, the 30-km autonomous walking made this time only makes a beginning.

National S&T Awards Honored

A conferring ceremony was held on February 14, 2011 to give the country's top science award to physicist XIE Jialin (right), and architect WU Liangyong (left). The laureates, both members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Wu is also a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering), were each awarded the National Top Scientific and Technological Award. On the same day, three Japanese scientists and one scientist from Germany, France, Britain, the United States, and Australia, were honored with a People's Republic of China International Scientific and Technological Cooperation Award for 2011.

Largest Single Hydropower Capacity

It is reported from China Three Gorges Corporation that its hydropower stations group at the Jinsha River downstream have been in a full-fledged development. For example, a hydropower station at Xiangjiaba has passed water storage checks in both Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, which allows the station’s generators to be put into operation within the year. The Xiangjiaba Hydropower Station is designed with a single-unit capacity of 800,000 kilowatts, the largest single-unit installed capacity in the world. Three Gorges Group General Manager CHEN Fei said the dam at the station has risen to a height of 364 meters, with the diversion gap being backfilled. The site behind the dam has progressed from civil works to electromechanical works, with the underground site at the right bank working on generator installation.

The Xiangjiaba Hydropower Station is located at the Jinsha River, a junction linking Sichuan and Yunnan provinces, rich in water resources. The station plans to install eight 800,000 kilowatts generating units, including the 2 what will be put into operation this year. Once all completed, the generating units are expected to hit an annual capacity of 30.7 billion kWh.

Joint Venture for Marine Survey Boat

The State Oceanic Administration No. 2 Institute of Oceanography and Zhejiang Taihe Shipping have recently kicked off the joint construction of a 4,000-ton ocean-going research vessel in Wenzhou. The vessel is an integrated platform for multi-disciplinary applications, assisted by multiple functions and diverse technical means, desirable for interdisciplinary deep-sea marine investigations of ocean dynamic environment, geological environment, ecology environment, and deep-sea extreme environment. Enjoying an integrated marine environment observation, detection, sampling, and on-site analysis capability, the vessel will become a moving platform for deep-sea and marine scientific research and high-tech R&D laboratory.

The vessel will be equipped with two sets of full-time steering oar electric propulsion system, a dynamic positioning system, and an integrated navigation positioning system, allowing a displacement of 4,400 tons, and an endurance of 12,000 nautical miles. The boat is also equipped with a dry laboratory, a wet laboratory, and a data processing center, along with a range of world-class survey equipment, including deep-water multi-beam system, single beam 10,000-meter depth sounder, and split beam system, and advanced deck operation equipment, such as varieties of winches with different capabilities.

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