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CHINA SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY NEWSLETTER(2012 NO.6)

Protecting Clean Energy IP

A China-US Clean Energy Intellectual Property Seminar, the first of its kind held in the two countries, was convened from March 5 to 7 in Haikou. At the two-day meeting, more than 100 experts from China-US Clean Energy Alliance, government agencies, and the intellectual property circles discussed intellectual property rights protection issues and associated cooperation in the area of clean energy. Participants improved their knowledge of the intellectual property laws in the opposite countries, and reached consensus on many important issues. The two sides agreed that the next seminar on the same topic will be held later this year in the United States.

 Fully Automated Telescope

BOOTES-4, a global GRB transient source observing system jointly built by CAS Yunnan Observatory and the Spanish National Research Council Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia, was put into operation on March 20, 2012 at the Yunnan Observatory's observing site in Lijiang. The event marks China's first possession of a program-controlled observatory The fully automated telescope makes its optical observation of the GRB afterglow and other transient sources. Applied with an advanced program-control technology, the telescope is able to automatically open the dome and move the telescope to observe according to weathers and targets. Started in last July, it took less than six months for the collaborative parties to complete the site selection, geological survey, infrastructure construction, and goods importation and transportation. The dome and telescope were installed last December, and the whole system was commissioned and put into an automated operation in February 2012.

New DNA Mutation Mechanism Found

Prof. HE Xionglei and his team at Sun Yat-sen University School of Life Sciences reported an important progress achieved in understanding how the composition and structure of DNA within the cell affect spontaneous mutations in the March 9 issue of Science magazine.

HE and coworkers found that the nucleosome structure in eukaryotic cells can suppress cytosine hydrolytic deamination, reducing the C→T mutation rate in nucleosomal DNA. The finding reveals a role played by nucleosome structure in regulating DNA mutations and associated implications on understanding the origin of mutations in cancers, laid a ground for improving people's knowledge of DNA structure and composition, and associated biological evolution.

China's First Direct Injection Natural Gas Engine

China's first natural gas engine featuring high pressure direct injection (HPDI) technology recently made its debut at Weifang Diesel Engine. The truck using the engine may save RMB 120 for a 100-kilometer journey.

An HPDI engine is designed with an oxidation catalytic converter for a cylinder ignition with 5% diesel, allowing 95% natural gas being injected into the flame as the main fuel. The process would reduce particulate matter emissions by 70%, and carbon dioxide emissions by 20%, up to the national Ⅴ emission standard. An HPDI engine uses the parts and components that are used at a generic diesel engine, without changes to the piston and engine, under an operational mode similar to that of a diesel. With a low exhaust temperature, it achieves the reliability comparable to a diesel engine at the same power level. It is designed to avoid detonation and fire without air-fuel ratio control. Its heat load is also lower than a spark plug ignition gas engine. An HPDI engine delivers the same power, torque and performance as that of a conventional diesel engine. The engine's power and torque is 20% respectively higher, compared with a spark ignition natural gas engine, which solves the problem of large power loss in a plateau environment.

According to a briefing, a conventional diesel engine needs an expansive selective catalytic reduction system to achieve the national Ⅴ emission standard. Comparatively, an HPDI engine is more economical, thanks to the high-pressure direct injection nozzle designed without throttle load control. Additionally, an HPDI engine has the potential for an enhanced performance and further reduced fuel consumption, emissions and noise.

Tech Business Planning Contest

A Tech Business Planning Contest, jointly sponsored by the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ningbo Municipal Government, was recently kicked off. Some 2,000 tech businesses attended the contest that started from the early March and will end in the late September. Some 50 domestic and foreign venture capital firms will be invited to provide technical support to contesters, helping them choose investment projects, improving the hatching tech businesses' fund raising skills at national tech incubation parks, and helping them secure investment opportunities. The contest will produce 93 winners for an amount of RMB 7.9 million. The Organizing Committee will recommend contesters to private investors, especially venture capitals, wining their investments to tech businesses. The winners that are qualified for the SME Technology Innovation Fund may also apply for the financial support of the Innovation Fund.

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