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Industrial Database Under Way

The State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) is developing an information platform for industrial companies to help them identify the technologies they need to meet strict new emission standards, an official said Thursday.

Zhang Huatian, an official with the science, technology and standards department of the SEPA, said by 2020, the database should be available to firms in dozens of industries, mostly heavy polluting ones, such as steel, power, printing and papermaking.

The project was launched at the end of last year but is still in the primary stage, she said.

Speaking at a symposium in Beijing on new environmental protection technologies from Italy, Zhang said: "The job will take a long time, but it is very meaningful. Currently, a lot of companies simply don't know which technologies can actually meet the emission demands, despite the claims of manufacturers and developers.

"Also, the cost of the technology is crucial, especially to small and medium-sized companies," she said.

With the new database, companies will be able to get instant access to detailed information on the latest technologies and who provides them by simply inputting details of their industry, scale and location.

"It will help firms across the country to meet their specific needs for environmental protection facilities," she said.

For example, a sewage handling technology that requires a lot of water might be suitable for a factory in East China, where the resource is readily available, but impractical for an equivalent firm in Northwest China, where water is scarce, Zhang said.

The problem facing the SEPA is that it lacks up-to-date, usable information about the technologies available, she said.

The first job for her team is to identify those technologies that meet current emission standards, and also those with the potential to meet stricter demands in the future, she said.

The second stage will be for the SEPA to draft a set of guidelines for use by experts in assessing the technologies and selecting the best ones.

"This is what we need to learn from the US and Europe, because they have many years' experience," Zhang said.

As well as helping experts to compare existing technologies and select the best ones, the guidelines will enable them to evaluate new technologies and those introduced from abroad.

Once all these elements are in place, the platform will provide an invaluable resource for end-users and developers to promote applications and exchange information on the latest technologies, she said.

At yesterday's symposium, four new environmental protection technologies from Italy, including using wetland cane for sewage purification and asbestos removal, were introduced to Chinese research institutes and businesses.

(China Daily Novmeber 30, 2007)

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