DALIAN - A car surrounded by visitors during the seventh China International Patent Fair last weekend seemed no different than an ordinary vehicle seen on the street.
Visitors look at university student inventions at the seventh China International Patent Fair held in Dalian last week. Liu Debin / China Daily
But the car is far from average - it costs some 1.5 million yuan to make and runs on hydrogen, according to Li Jiaxin, manager of the commercial department at Sunrise Power Co Ltd, maker of the vehicle.
Designated as a national engineering research center for fuel cell and hydrogen technology in 2006, the company is still working to commercialize hydrogen-fueled batteries, a goal it plans to reach by 2015.
The company has reached a few benchmarks already - it sent a fleet of its hydrogen fuel cell cars to the ongoing World Expo in Shanghai after it supplied vehicles to the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. It also plans to send vehicles to the upcoming Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.
Unlike Sunrise Power, industrial battery maker Dalian Rongkepower Co Ltd already has its products in use in Tibet, Beijing and Dalian.
"As solar and wind energy is often unsteady, the system is like reservoir to store power," said Wang Xiaoli, chief engineer assistant of the company.
"As well, solar or wind farms are usually far away from urban areas which need power most. Our storage system helps to transfer the renewable energy to the places where power is in need," Wang said.
Light-emitting diode (LED) lamps made by Kingo Lighting Co Ltd were also showcased at the fair. Its patented LEDs give out less heat and have a longer life span, said Sun Yu, sales manager of the company.
"This year's fair focuses more on rising industries and highlights the application of renewable energy and clean lighting sources in shaping modern life," Tian Lipu, commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), said during his visit to the exhibition. SIPO is one of co-sponsors of the biennial event.
A special exhibit section was set up to showcase winners of China's Patent Awards over the past five years.
"We hope to showcase excellent patented technologies, enhance exchange and cooperation in intellectual property and achieve mutually beneficial results," Tian said.
Not only high-tech firms had a place at the biennial patent gathering.
Qiu Bingshun, an inventor from Xiamen in Fujian province, brought his automatic rocking chair, a motorized swing that plays music and a automated baby cradle in an effort to find a distributor.
Deng Yinglai from Guangdong province was seeking franchisees for his invention - windows that can be transformed into a balcony.
Next door to products developed by high-tech firms are rows of designs including a pair of tweezers with a magnifier, a two-seat chair painted with a chessboard pattern and a height-adjustable washbasin.
The washbasin's creator, 16-year-old Xu Ye, has been granted five patents. She explained to visitors how her creation works and admitted her hope is "someone will have an interest in my designs and want to make an investment".
The proximity of inventions from students and professional engineers shows the close link between fostering an atmosphere of innovation and increasing R&D strength, said the event's organizers.
More than 80,000 companies from some 17 nations and regions participated in the three-day event, the most influential patent exhibition in the country, said Xia Deren, Party chief of the host city.
(China Daily 08/11/2010 page17)