Month: August 2023

MIIT: China leads the world in industrial robot production and installations According to an address of Xin Guobin, deputy director of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MII), at the opening ceremony of the 2023 World Robot Games in Beijing, China robot industry sales in 2022 were more than 170 billion yuan (1 yuan = approx. 20 yen), and industrial robot installations accounted for more than 50% of the world’s total. Driven by the construction of a manufacturing powerhouse and Digital China, China’s robotics industry in 2022 has produced industrial robots exceeding 443,000 sets, up 20% from the previous year. Robot density in the manufacturing industry reached 392 robots per 10,000 workers. Service and specialized robots are being applied on a large scale in areas such as logistics, medicine, and construction, and are also playing an important role in space exploration, emergency rescue, and public safety.

Suzhou University: “Silk micro needles” for transdermal drug delivery The Silk National Engineering Laboratory of Suzhou University, the only national engineering laboratory in China’s textile silk industry, is engaged in research and development of silk protein medical devices as well as mass production of 10 tons of large molecular silk protein per year. The group around Shenzhou LU at this laboratory has developed silk fibroin micro needles for the transdermal delivery of drugs. First, silk proteins are made into a solution, which is poured into a microscale mold and dried to produce microneedles. 225 microneedles in a 0.5 square centimeter patch can dose more than 1 milligram of drug and is as easy as applying an adhesive bandage. The microneedles are short and thin and do not touch nerves or blood vessels, allowing for painless administration. In addition, the aggregation state of the silk protein is effectively controlled so that the drug’s effect is long-lasting

“Red lotus” hybrid rice is already grown on over 30 million ha Red lotus hybrid rice is the result of research conducted by Dr. Zhu Ying, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and professor at Wuhan University, and is one of the most recognized hybrid rice varieties in the world. It is characterized by high production, good rice quality, high adaptability, and resistance to high temperatures and pests. According to rough statistics, the world’s total area under Red Lotus-type hybrid rice cultivation is more than 30 million hectares. In 2021, Wuhan University, in collaboration with Punjab University, has established the Luotian Center for China-Pakistan Red Lotus Hybrid Rice Research in Heshong Town, Luotian County. The center currently has approximately 467 hectares under cultivation of this variety. It is particularly suitable for cultivation in countries along the “One Belt, One Road” region and widely promoted in Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and other countries, and accounts for the highest percentage of China’s annual hybrid rice seed exports.

CAS TIB designs synthetic pathway for CO2 to sugar The research team of Functional Sugars and Natural Active Substances of CAS Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology has established a synthetic pathway for the synthesis of hexose from carbon dioxide in a chemical-enzymatic cascade based on the enzymatic reactions of carbon condensation, isomerization, and dephosphorylation in cooperation with CAS Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, and has improved catalytic performance of the natural enzyme activity, substrate specificity, and so on, through the enzyme molecular transformation technology. Through the enzyme molecular modification technology, the catalytic performance of the natural enzyme activity and substrate specificity were improved, and three functional modules of carbon I, carbon III, and carbon VI were constructed, and the synthesis of hexoses with different structures and functions was realized in vitro, and the conversion rate of this pathway was higher than that of traditional plant photosynthesis. At the same time, the product concentration and carbon-sugar conversion rate were higher than those of the published artificial sugar synthesis methods, such as chemical synthesis of sugar, electrochemical-yeast fermentation coupling method and other artificial sugar production methods. The sugar artificial synthesis system constructed in the study can be further coupled with other enzymatic biochemical reactions to prepare structurally diverse sugar molecules and their derivatives. Therefore, the research results establish a method to synthesize hexose from carbon monocompounds such as carbon dioxide, methanol, formaldehyde, etc., which realizes the artificial synthesis of hexose with high conversion efficiency and precise and controllable configuration, and will provide a possibility for the conversion of non-biomass raw materials to form a diversity of artificial sugar products.

China leads use of geothermal energy with 38% of global

China’s direct geothermal energy use will reach 40.6 gigawatts (GW) by the end of 2020, accounting for 38% of the world’s total, making it the largest in the world for several consecutive years. China’s geothermal energy heating and cooling area is 1.39 billion square meters, with an average annual growth rate of 23% over the past five years. Why is geothermal getting so much attention? According to industry insiders, it has to do with its wide distribution, large reserves, stability and reliability, and remarkable carbon emission reduction benefits. The distribution of energy resources in China usually has regional bias. For example, the northwest is rich in coal, wind, and solar energy resources, while the south is rich in water resources. In contrast, geothermal energy is widely distributed and the process of using it emits almost no carbon. The goal of “double carbon” (peak CO2 emissions and carbon neutrality) has brought clean geothermal energy into the spotlight. Two examples were provided: At the China Petroleum & Chemical Industry Group Green Energy Corporation Talent Jiayuan Heat Exchange Station in Xiong County, Xiong’an New District, Hebei Province, the heat exchange station is located underground. It does not have a large site area, but it guarantees a winter heating supply for the more than 3,000 households in the complex. At this heat exchange plant, geothermal water is pumped up by submersible pumps, sand is removed by desander, and heat is exchanged in plate heat exchangers. In other words, the heat from the high-temperature underground water is extracted and used as a heat source for winter heating. The thermal energy obtained from the geothermal water is sent to each household through pipes. At China Petrochemical Green Energy Geothermal Energy Development Corporation, shallow geothermal energy is used instead of air conditioning for cooling. There are about 280 shallow pit holes about 120 meters deep under the green areas and roads in the complex, and the underground thermal energy is transported by pipes to exchange cold and heat between water and underground rock bodies through the action of heat pump units. In winter, the heat from the rock is extracted and used to heat the rooms. In the winter, the heat is extracted from the rock body and used to heat the rooms, and the underground rock body serves as the heat source in this process. In summer, the indoor heat is extracted and released into the rock to produce cold water at a temperature of about 11°C. A circulation pump then sends the water to a fan for circulation. Geothermal energy can be used in different stages based on different temperatures. Taking Yadu County, Dali City, Yunnan Province, as an example, where medium- and high-temperature geothermal energy is abundant, geothermal energy below 45°C can be used to develop the healthcare industry, such as hot springs and bathing; between 45 and 60°C can be used for heating; and around 60 to 90°C, energy after heating use can be used for greenhouse cultivation. On the other hand, geothermal energy above 90°C can be used for clean power generation. The higher the temperature, the more effective and economical the power generation.   Photo shows the heat exchange station located at the Hebei Xiong’an New District Innovation Center Intermediate Test Base.

In digitalised Wuhan City Central Hospital, “medicine is waiting for people” Wuhan City Central Hospital in Hubei Province is the first smart pharmacy in Hubei Province to integrate warehousing and drug distribution, and is equipped with boxed medicine high-speed distribution equipment, fully automatic internal medicine dose sorting equipment, intravenous medicine mixing integration equipment, and intravenous drip sorting equipment. The entire process, from receiving and dispensing pharmaceuticals to transmission and distribution to patients, is paperless and automated. In the area’s outpatient pharmacy, a fully automated robotic arm of the drug replenishment and distribution system was moving at high speed. Once the patient pays for the medication, the prescription is sent to the pharmacy, and the patient can pick up the medication as soon as he or she goes to the pharmacy. This has changed the concept from “people waiting for medicine” to “medicine waiting for people. The area has a total floor space of 230,000 square meters and 1,000 sickbeds. With the goal of building a “digital twin hospital” during normal times and during times of infection spread, the project is realizing informatization services in various areas, such as remote consultation and consultation. In terms of smart management, a digitalized operation command center has been constructed, where staff can monitor the dynamic operational status of the hospital. Everything from hospital facilities and equipment to energy data such as electricity, gas, water, and cooling/heating sources is managed in a unified manner on the display and can be commanded with a single touch. In addition, the use of wireless IoT (Internet of Things) technology has enabled services such as unmanned transportation of packages and food delivery by robots. The “Digital Twin Hospital” has not only increased the level of management, but also made the patient visit experience more pleasant.

China’s “Little Giants” enterprises total 12,000 At the 2023 National Development Conference of “Specialized and New” SMEs, an official from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced that China has 98,000 “Specialized and New” SMEs, including 12,000 “Little Giant” enterprises (Specialization, precision, specialization, and novelty,専精特新(専門化・精密化・特徴化・新規性) According to data, in the past few years, such “patent innovation” giants have established more than 10,000 national and provincial R&D institutions, and the number of invention patents granted has exceeded 200,000 in total. These “specialty new” small and medium-sized enterprises have become the “boosters” of high-quality development. According to the Ministry’s survey data, from January to May this year, the operating profit margin of “patent innovation” small and medium-sized enterprises was 9.9%, 4.7 percentage points higher than that of the nation’s industrial enterprises above a certain size (those with annual sales of 20 million yuan or more). The operating profit margin for the small and medium-sized “patent innovation” enterprises was 7.1%, also 1.9 percentage points higher than the national average.

2023/07: ‘Gene bank’ of ancient ceramics in China’s porcelain capital Jingdezhen, Jiangxi Province Cross-section specimens of ceramic fragments produced in Jingdezhen, east China’s Jiangxi Province during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and unearthed from an ancient shipwreck are put in storage by a staff member in the world’s first “gene bank” of ancient ceramics in the city, July 12, 2023. (Photo/ The world’s first “gene bank” of ancient ceramics in Jingdezhen, a world-famous porcelain capital in east China’s Jiangxi Province, completed the preparation of cross-section specimens of ceramic fragments that were produced in the city during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and unearthed from an ancient shipwreck on July 12. This means the gene bank has entered the stage of analyzing the “gene” information of these specimens. On June 10 when the gene bank marked its first anniversary, it received 12 specimens of ancient ceramics from the Yangtze River Estuary No. 2 Ancient Vessel, which was lifted out of the waters off Hengsha island in Shanghai’s Chongming district. By then, the gene bank had collected 2,412 pieces of “gene” specimens of ancient ceramics, and traced nearly 300,000 pieces of information. Staff members restore a piece of ancient ceramic work in Jingdezhen city, east China’s Jiangxi Province, June 19, 2023. (Photo/ The gene bank was built on June 11, 2022 to trace information such as the body, glaze, pigment, and craftsmanship of more than 20 million pieces of ancient ceramic fragments unearthed in Jingdezhen. Researchers make “gene” specimens of ancient ceramics in physical and digital forms, said Weng Yanjun, head of the gene bank. These “gene” specimens help researchers decode the origin and development of the ancient ceramics civilization. Over more than a year, relevant technical standards and operations mechanisms for the building of the gene bank have been gradually improved. The gene bank launched a database of its first phase and shared research results with the world. A staff member works on the ruins of the imperial kiln site in Jingdezhen city, east China’s Jiangxi Province, July 13, 2023. (Photo/ A robotic system for making “gene” specimens of ancient ceramics jointly developed by the Jingdezhen Imperial Kiln Museum and the Academy for Engineering and Technology under Fudan University, the first of its kind in the world, was put into use in the gene bank this year, significantly improving the efficiency of making “gene” specimens. Based on the gene bank’s research results, the Jingdezhen Imperial Kiln Museum staged a special exhibition of blue and white porcelain and rolled out cultural and creative products themed on ceramics, which were well received by customers. A staff member uses a Raman spectrometer to analyze the chemical composition of a piece of ancient ceramics, June 19, 2023. (Photo/ Visitors attend a special exhibition of blue and white porcelain based on the research results of the gene bank of ancient ceramics in Jingdezhen city, east China’s Jiangxi Province, July 12, 2023. (Photo/ A robot makes “gene” specimens of ancient ceramics, July 12, 2023. (Photo/ A staff member checks a ceramic work from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) jointly restored by staff members from the Palace Museum and the gene bank of ancient ceramics in Jingdezhen city, east China’s Jiangxi Province on July 13, 2023. (Photo/ A visitor takes photos of a dome featuring the “gene” information of blue and white porcelain at a scenic area in Jingdezhen city, east China’s Jiangxi Province, July 13, 2023. (Photo/ Weng Yanjun (left), head of the gene bank of ancient ceramics in Jingdezhen, east China’s Jiangxi Province, introduces the gene bank’s specimens to a Polish porcelain lover, July 12, 2023. (Photo/ (Web editor: Chang Sha, Liang Jun)

CAS ISA: global greenhouse gas emissions did not decrease over past decade On July 26, the Scientific Report on Remote Sensing Assessment of Global Carbon Emissions from Anthropogenic Sources and Carbon Balance in Terrestrial Ecosystems (hereinafter referred to as the Scientific Report on Remote Sensing Assessment of Global Carbon Emissions and Carbon Balance) was released in Beijing. The report, prepared by the CAS Institute of Space and Astronautical Information Innovation  (hereinafter referred to as ASI), utilized satellite remote sensing technology to assess the global and major countries’ anthropogenic carbon emissions and terrestrial ecosystems’ carbon revenues and expenditures. The report shows that global greenhouse gas emissions have not been effectively controlled, and that atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations have continued to rise at an average growth rate of about 6 parts per thousand per year over the past 10 years, and that the trend of rising global carbon dioxide concentrations has not slowed down significantly, even during the COVID outbreak. The accelerating trend of global forest destruction over the past 40 years has not been curbed, forest area continues to decline, and global land-use change produces an average of about 3.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, which is the second-largest source of emissions after fossil fuel carbon emissions. It reports that China has implemented large-scale afforestation ecological projects, and land use change is a net carbon sink effect, fixing nearly 400 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, effectively reducing global land use carbon emissions. Satellite-based assimilation inversion results show that the global terrestrial ecosystem has absorbed an average of 13.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year over the past 10 years. Among them, China’s terrestrial ecosystem absorbed 1.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually, accounting for about one tenth of the world. The global land soil organic carbon stock is also showing a gradual increase trend, the global soil absorbed about 1.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year in the past 40 years, and China implemented large-scale conservation tillage and ecological management initiatives, the soil carbon sequestration rate is the highest, accounting for about one quarter of the world. According to Wu Yirong, academician of CAS and president of Space and Astronautical Academy, this monitoring report shows that, on the one hand, China’s active energy-saving and emission reduction measures have been effective, and China has reversed the rapid growth of carbon dioxide emissions in the last 10 years; on the other hand, China has implemented large-scale tree planting, returning farmland to forests, forestation, and protective tillage and other active ecological management measures, and ecosystems continue to enhance the capacity for carbon sequestration. Satellite monitoring has also found that China’s net carbon emissions have shown a decreasing trend in the past 10 years, indicating that China’s carbon neutrality goal has made important progress. According to Wu Yirong, satellite remote sensing has the advantages of objective, continuous, stable, large-scale and repeated observation, and is an indispensable technical means for high-precision and fine-resolution monitoring of the global carbon cycle. At present, many countries and organizations around the world are vigorously developing the monitoring and verification support capacity for greenhouse gas emissions, and the development of China’s independent satellite remote sensing capacity for global carbon inventory is a matter of urgency. China will launch the next generation of carbon satellites in 2025, which can monitor the global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration with higher precision and efficiency, and will further improve the monitoring capability of China’s domestic satellites in terms of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration, anthropogenic carbon emissions, carbon sinks of terrestrial ecosystems, etc., and provide Chinese autonomous technical means for global carbon inventory and China’s “dual carbon” goal. It will further improve the monitoring capability of China’s domestic satellite in terms of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration, anthropogenic carbon emissions and carbon sinks in terrestrial ecosystems, and provide China’s own scientific data for the global carbon inventory and China’s “dual carbon” goal.

Hydrous liquid metals might be used in rhythmic bionic tissues In a new study of a research group led by Prof. LIU Jing at the CAS Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry, together with collaborators from Tsinghua University, biotissue-like rhythmic agglomerates was created via two inanimate liquid materials, water and liquid metals. The researchers introduced the synergistic mechanism of in situ reduction and electrochemical welding so that the as-manufactured hydrous liquid–metal agglomerates (HLMAs) could maintain their structural features during cellular-like growth, floating, and systolic and diastolic rhythms, thus resembling the physiological scene of “brain in a vat.” The core principle is that the reversible redox sparks the rhythm of HLMAs, which undergo rhythmic variation in physical properties while achieving systolic and diastolic rhythms, just as biotissues do during heartbeat and respiratory fluctuation. The researchers demonstrated the unique capacity of liquid matter to generate biorhythms due to its intrinsic aqueous features and spatiotemporal attributes. The rhythmic synergy of HLMAs is revealed to be dependent on variations in matter, electrochemical energy conversion, and information transfer. With their endowed rhythmic nature, HLMAs offer a new paradigm for the fabrication of metallic bionic tissues that may closely mimic or even transcend biotissues in the coming years. Schematic for biotissue-like rhythmic hydrous liquid-metal agglomerates. (Image by LIU et. al.)

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