Green Chinese companies aim for North America

China is prominent at this year’s Globe environmental trade fair that opened in Vancouver Wednesday, as the country is hosting a national pavilion for the first time to showcase homegrown green technologies.

The China Pavilion features 12 companies exhibiting innovative products including water purification equipment, solar energy devices and air filters, among other applications.

John Wiebe, whose company Globe Group runs the biennial event, said it was important for the show to have a major China presence as for years “it had sent delegations looking for technologies to buy, and now it is promoting its own technologies that are often more affordable than those by western companies.

“I think China’s much more progressive in the environmental solutions business today than many other countries,” he said.

“You don’t see it as much because it is such a huge country perhaps. But in terms of their technologies and their applications of those technologies, they’re ahead of many other countries,” said Wiebe.

As one of the world’s largest environmental trade show, the Globe 2012 attracted some 400 companies from about 50 countries and territories.

At the Jinan Eco-Energy Technology exhibit, a machine that could turn old tyres and plastics into fuel oil and carbon black through a pyrolysis process draws many curious onlookers.

Sales director of the company Maggie Zhou said the machine cost around 3.5 million US dollars and could recoup its cost after 15 months of operation.

To date, the machine has been sold to companies in Germany, Malaysia, Estonia and Thailand, among others, while the first two American sales are currently being installed in Kansas City and Alabama, said Zhou.

It had taken time for the Shandong company to break into the lucrative US market as the pyrolysis technology is new to many and governments “need more time to prove the technology is safe and won’t generate secondary pollution.”

“We really focus on the American market because it is a huge market for environmental things,” she said, adding the disposal of tyres and plastics was a universal problem.

At the Electrochem Automation (Shanghai) display, a man named David Shen demonstrated a portable solar-power starter kit. With all the apparatus fitting in a standard-size suitcase, the kit, selling for up to 1,000 US dollars, is designed to provide electric power for residents in remote areas where there is no electricity grid.

The US-educated Taiwanese has been building his eco-friendly power packs since 1994 and feels the next big development in the environmental sector will be how to harness solar and wind power and store it.

Shen boldly suggested that in the future, whoever can handle the environmental issue will be the “winner of the world.”

“China is pursuing this goal and that’s the right method to grow the country. In developing environmental-related industries, actually you will promote other technologies, which will be of benefit to the other industries also.”

As China has highlighted environmental protection as a key task in its 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), organizer Wiebe said North America, Canada in particular, needed to become “more aggressive” in cooperation with Chinese companies and “learn more about what’s going on.”

“Part of what we would like to see is a marriage between some of the research being done in Canada and other places and the manufacturing platform in China,” he said. “I think there is a very good marriage.”

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