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. China To Step Up Energy Efficiency Drive

China's booming economy -- which last year grew at 11.1 percent -- has come at a huge cost to the environment with up to 70 percent of its waterways polluted and air quality in its cities among the worst in the world. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Jul 28, 2007
China has announced plans to double spending on improving energy efficiency and slashing pollution, in an effort to combat its dismal environmental record. The government will spend an extra 10 billion yuan (1.33 billion US dollars) on reducing energy use and cutting pollution, according to a statement from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the state body responsible for economic planning.

The move brings the annual total investment in the area to 21.3 billion yuan.

Nine billion of the sum will be spent on energy efficiency and will target 10 "major energy saving projects," the statement said without giving any details of the schemes.

The state Xinhua news agency said late Friday the money would focus on making energy savings within government bodies, as well as pushing for more efficient use of oil and developing oil-replacement technologies.

China's booming economy -- which last year grew at 11.1 percent -- has come at a huge cost to the environment with up to 70 percent of its waterways polluted and air quality in its cities among the worst in the world.

The Chinese government had set a goal of reducing energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product by 20 percent by 2010, but energy consumption fell only 1.23 percent last year, less than one third of the stated annual goal.

China also missed last year's targets to reduce by two percent emissions of major air and water pollutants, as levels instead rose by almost two percent.

Government figures cited by Xinhua Friday said better results had been achieved between January and May this year with energy consumption falling by two percent compared to the same period last year.

Emissions of sulphur dioxide, a key pollutant, also fell by 0.6 percent, according to the report.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Two Bacteria Better Than One In Cellulose-Fed Fuel Cell
University Park PA (SPX) Jul 29, 2007
No currently known bacteria that allow termites and cows to digest cellulose, can power a microbial fuel cell and those bacteria that can produce electrical current cannot eat cellulose. But careful pairing of bacteria can create a fuel cell that consumes cellulose and produces electricity, according to a team of Penn State researchers. "We have gotten microbial fuel cells to work with all kinds of biodegradable substances including glucose, wastewater and other organic wastes," says John M. Regan, assistant professor of environmental engineering. "But, cellulose is tricky. There is no known microbe that can degrade cellulose and reduce the anode.

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