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Use of Clean Energy Gets Scientific Boost
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The byproducts of steel-making - hydrogen and heat - could be used as clean fuel and energy for power generation.


Coal, after liquefaction or gasification, could also become a clean energy.


These were some of the innovative ideas discussed at a scientific gathering yesterday in Beijing.


The national scientific innovation alliance system was launched on Monday to maximize resource utilization efficiency and reduce pollution.


The system covers four key industries - steel, coal, chemicals and agriculture, said sources with the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST).


"Targeting the country's four pillar industries, the system will try to integrate the manpower and resources of enterprises, universities and research institutes in the hope of generating innovate ideas," Vice-Minister Li Xueyong said.


The system was jointly launched by MOST, the National Assets Management Committee, the All-China Federation of Trade Union, the National Development Bank and the ministries of Education and Finance.


The system has brought together 26 top enterprises, 18 first-class universities and nine famous research institutes across the country.


The Shenhua Group, the country's largest coal enterprise, has signed contracts with 17 universities, institutes and enterprises to form a coal industry innovation alliance.


"We hope this cooperation can generate more new scientific ideas which can be directly used on our production lines," said Ling Wen, CEO of the group.


"In the past, we relied heavily on importing costly foreign equipment which restrained our development," Ling said.


The group began to patent its scientific renovations in 2004, and now most of its core technologies are locally developed.


A scientific renovation of the hydraulic system of its excavators helped the group save more than 3 billion yuan (US$395 million) last year.


"The industrial alliances under the system will focus on strategic plans for the country's long-term development," Xu Kuangdi, president of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said.


"Cooperation between enterprises, universities and institutes in the past was often short-lived and focused on instant benefits, rather than taking a long-term view," he said.


There will probably be more industrial alliances under the new system in the future, Xu said.


(China Daily June 13, 2007)

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