Innovation helps protect city

Updated: 2012-11-07 07:32

By An Baijie (China Daily)

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A product made by an innovative Beijing company is helping the city protect itself from disasters such as the exceptionally heavy rainstorm that flooded parts of the city and led to the deaths of 79 people on July 21.

The product, permeable bricks, was put to the test that day and easily withstood the severity of the storm.

Innovation helps protect city

Qin Shengyi displays permeable bricks to journalists on Tuesday. [Photo/China Daily] 

"None of the places using my permeable bricks were paralyzed by the heavy rain in July because the rainwater could penetrate the bricks immediately and drained down to the underground rainfall-gathering system," said Qin Shengyi, board chairman of Rechsand Science and Technology Group.

The government is ordering more, Qin told the more than 40 journalists from the Chinese mainland and overseas visiting Zhongguancun Science Park in Beijing's Haidian district at the invitation of the press center of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

Qin and his research team invented the permeable brick, using a special material to cover the sand inside, making the sand permeable to water.

The Haidian district government plans to renovate some of its roads with permeable brick, after the heavy storm in July, according to Beijing Daily.

Qin has received orders from the district government, and there are plans to use his products in several projects.

Apart from the government purchases, Qin said he also received financial support from the government to research the bricks, because the sand he used is taken from deserts, and his products can be used to hold water for desert plants.

"We have planted nearly 10,000 mu (667 hectares) of trees and grass in desert regions, including Gansu province and Inner Mongolia, starting two years ago, and up to 97 percent of the plants have managed to survive," he said.

The government has financed him with tens of millions of yuan for the research into sand products, and he had access to low-interest bank loans because his company's products involve scientific innovation.

Yang Jianhua, deputy director-general of the Administration of Zhongguancun Science Park, where Qin's company is located, said scientifically innovative companies in the Zhongguancun region achieved 1.96 trillion yuan ($313.6 billion) in sales last year, a 23.2 percent year-on-year increase.

"The government has been trying to establish a platform for the companies to transform their scientific research into real products," he said, adding that big companies including Lenovo, Baidu and Sohu originated in Zhongguancun.

The support has been mandated by the State Council, which has prioritized seven major emerging industries, including energy conservation and environmental protection, biology, IT, and new energies and materials, in its development plan for the 2011-15 period.

"With the help of the government, we have enjoyed 12 million yuan in low-interest loans for recent research into a vaccine for hand-foot-and-mouth disease," said Yin Xiaomei, director of the PR department of Sinovac, a vaccine producer in Beijing.