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April, 2015:

Fossil fuels are the new tobacco when it comes to health risk

As future doctors we call on the Wellcome Trust and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to remove their investments from fossil fuel companies. We share a responsibility to our future patients to address unmitigated climate change – described as “the biggest health threat of the 21st century” – and to advocate for a transition to a healthier, more sustainable economy. The British Medical Association has already divested and many other medical and health organisations are following suit. Continued investment in the fossil fuel industry violates health workers’ obligations to do no harm and grants the industry the social licence to explore and exploit still further reserves, resulting in catastrophic global warming.

Group representing 1m medical students backs fossil fuel divestment

Of currently listed fossil fuel reserves 80% must remain unburned to keep surface temperature warming below 2C above pre-industrial levels. Climate change threatens health both directly through frequent flooding, heatwaves and natural disasters, and indirectly by worsening food insecurity, conflict and mental health. Fossil fuels also directly harm workers and local communities by toxic exposures, air pollution and local environmental degradation.

A transition to renewable energy generation and low-carbon, active transport would prevent millions of deaths worldwide from cardiovascular, respiratory, and other diseases.

Thirty years ago, health professionals declared that investments in the tobacco industry violated their responsibility to protect and promote health. They triggered a wave of divestment that played a significant role in the tobacco control movement’s subsequent successes. The threat to public health posed by fossil fuels is even greater, but fossil fuel companies – just like the tobacco industry – continue to fund the subversion of scientific research into climate change and legislation directed at its mitigation. The arguments that led the health sector to divest from tobacco provide a still more compelling mandate for divestment from fossil fuels.

We call on the Wellcome Trust and Gates Foundation to divest from the fossil fuel industry and show the leadership we, as future health professionals, need to bring about a healthier, more sustainable economy.

Lucas Scherdel University College London and national director, Medsin UK
James Lawler University of Newcastle and president, Australian Medical Students’ Association
Agostinho Sousa President, International Federation of Medical Students Associations
Alice McGushin University of Tasmania
Karen Zhang Monash University
Natasha Abeysekera University of Tasmania
Paul Thuesen University of Wollongong
Suleman Atique Taipei Medical University
Amanda Zhou UNSW
Maud Taylor Adelaide University
Bryan Tan Monash University
Torunn Hjøllo University of Bergen
Vijendra Ingole Umea University
Nathan Cantley Queen’s University Belfast
Mustafa Uğur Özel Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University
Clarissa Soh UWA and Code Green officer, WAMSS
Steve Pan University of Notre Dame
Thomas Luckman University of Tasmania
Imtiaz Hafiz University of Dhaka
Molly Wilkinson University Notre Dame
Charlotte Holm-Hansen University of Copenhagen
Pool Aguilar León Antenor Orrego Private University
Georgia Diebold UNSW
Matteo Dameri Genova University
Jon Herriot University of Saskatchewan
Katelyn Tadd University of Melbourne
Garbrielle Fernandez University of Queensland
Isabelle Bruneau Université de Montréal
Carmen Hayward Flinders University
Claudel Petrin-Desrosiers University of Montreal
Robin Dru St George’s, University of London
Eleanor Dow University of Edinburgh and national coordinator, Healthy Planet UK
Madeleine Payne University of Edinburgh
Ryan Forrest University of Edinburgh
Alexander Lewis Wade University of Edinburgh
Roshni Patel University College London
Cameron Stocks Barts
Dr G S Mead
Dr Jo Veltman
Marcus Hollyer University of Edinburgh
Colin Irving University of Edinburgh
Peter Eves Edinburgh
Trabelsi Souha FMT
Racha Tohme University of Balamand
Wenzhen Zuo Université de Montréal and national coordinator of global health, Ifmsa-QC
Anneleen Boel Ghent University
Kelly Lau McGill University
Shang-Jung Hsieh National Yang-Ming University
Camille Pelletier Vernooy Université de Montréal
Fabian Falkenbach Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
Helen Zhang University of New South Wales
Alisha Patel University of East Anglia
Nina Nguyen University of Sherbrooke

World’s first electric taxi for the tropics unveiled

Say hello to EVA, the first car to be designed and made in Singapore and the world’s first electric taxi for tropical megacities. The quick-charging, long-range car features innovations that could drive sustainable changes in public transport in cities.

Researchers from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Germany’s Technische Universität München (TUM) on 24 April unveiled an electric taxi that is the first car to be designed, developed, and made in Singapore.

Also the world’s first electric taxi for tropical megacities, EVA, boasts features such as a lightweight carbon-fibre body, an energy efficient air conditioning system, seats that suck away moisture and heat, and a fast-charging battery system that will allow the car to travel up to 200 kilometres on just a 15-minute recharge, among others.

EVA was developed by TUM CREATE, a partnership between NTU and TUM to study electric mobility. It was unveiled by German Ambassador Michael Witter, along with NTU president Bertil Andersson and TUM vice president for research and innovation Thomas Hofmann.

Prof Bertil Andersson, NTU President & His Excellency, Dr Michael Witter, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, viewing EVA’s state-of-the-art battery system. Image: NTU Singapore

Prof Bertil Andersson, NTU President & His Excellency, Dr Michael Witter, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, viewing EVA’s state-of-the-art battery system. Image: NTU Singapore

The researchers behind EVA said they focused on building a sustainable taxi because although cabs make up only three per cent of Singapore’s vehicle population, they account for 15 per cent of the total distance travelled by all vehicles on the island.

An electric taxi in hot and humid Singapore would need a short charging time, long range, and a comfortable environment for passengers, noted the researchers, adding that the technologies showcased in EVA “can be adopted in both current and future vehicles to reduce their carbon footprint”.

For example, the car’s overhead air conditioning system delivers cold air to a passenger’s upper body, which keeps them comfortable without needing to cool down the entire cabin. Vents in unoccupied zones of the vehicle can also be switched off to conserve energy.

Individualised overhead cooling vents in EVA. Image: NTU Singapore

Individualised overhead cooling vents in EVA. Image: NTU Singapore

Markus Lienkamp, scientific advisor director at TUM CREATE shared that the idea for the project came four years ago when researchers questioned whether electric vehicles were suitable for public transport systems in megacities. A team of 40 researchers, mostly PhD students from about 20 nationalities, built the car over two years.

The university has identified electric mobility as one of the solutions necessary to tackle climate change, noted NTU president Andersson, adding that “our success in building an electric car for the tropics is a big step forward in realising our vision for a more sustainable future for everyone”.

Andersson also pointed out that the car was the first ever to be designed and made in Singapore, and said that although automotive manufacturing is not a core economic activity in Singapore, “the nation’s economy will definitely benefit in the long run through technology transfer”.

“We are now among the leaders in electro-mobility systems and will be able to offer our knowledge and services to the automotive industries in this region,” he added.

TUM CREATE chief executive Maria-Elisabeth Michel-Beyerle also noted that the technologies developed for use in EVA had caught the attention of the automotive industry worldwide and already clinched a technology award in Munich, Germany.

“We are also now in discussions with some companies who are interested to commercialise our innovation,” she shared.

Along with the car’s sustainability features, EVA is also fitted with other amenities essential for a taxi. These include a large storage space for luggage, an fold-out child seat, and an infotainment system which allows passengers to control air conditioning and audio settings from their mobile devices.

EVA has a built-in infotainment system which can display fares, navigate with maps and play music from the radio. Image: NTU Singapore

EVA has a built-in infotainment system which can display fares, navigate with maps and play music from the radio. Image: NTU Singapore

Despite being feature-heavy, EVA is actually 150 kilogrammes lighter than other similar-sized taxis, said NTU.

Lienkamp added that the successful design of a vehicle specially for public transport “has opened up new questions for us to explore, mainly how purpose-built electric vehicles would fit into the whole transport eco-system together with the trains and buses”.

To begin with, TUM CREATE will test the car further on the NTU campus, which is already a test-bed for other prototype electric and autonomous vehicles.

The university aims over the next four years to become a national test-bed for smart mobility solutions such as technology that enables cars to ‘talk’ to traffic infrastructure and other cars.

Biomass & Waste Incineration

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A new underground wastewater treatment plant serving 700,000 people in the municipality of Anyang, South Korea will use thermal hydrolysis technology (THP) to co-digest organic waste.

A new underground wastewater treatment plant serving 700,000 people in the municipality of Anyang, South Korea will use thermal hydrolysis technology (THP) to co-digest organic waste.

South Korean engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor Posco E&C awarded Norwegian firm, Cambi, a contract to supply its B12 THP process plant for the Anyang Sewage Treatment and co-digestion project.

The CambiTHP system will co-digest about 27,000 dry tons of organic waste per year, of which 65% is sewage sludge and the remaining 35% food waste.

Biogas produced from the co-digestion plant will be turned into electricity and as heat for the CambiTHP TM and digestion processes.

Remaining high dry solids dewatered product after digestion will be dried and blended with millet grass to produce a biomass fuel for co-firing in existing power plants.

Mr. Lim, site manager of Posco E&C Anyang Bagdal, said he expects a “substantial sludge reduction and increased biogas production from the installation of CambiTHP technology”.

Atila Mellilo, chief executive of Cambi, said: “In addition to operational and environmental benefits, the fact that the plant is located underground allows the Municipality of Anyang to benefit from a small footprint and substantial savings in capital expenditures associated with the construction of digesters.”

The contract represents a breakthrough into South Korea for Cambi, following contracts signed in China and an announcement this week for the Jurong water reclamation plant in Singapore.

Waste-to-Energy Firm Covanta’s Loss Grows in 2015

Waste-to-energy firm Covanta Holding Corp. reported an increased net loss for its first quarter, as it was hurt by lower market pricing for metals and energy, as well as other factors.

For the first quarter ended March 31 the Morristown, N.J.-based Covanta lost $37 million, or 28 cents per diluted share, compared with a net loss of $9 million, or 7 cents per diluted share, in the 2014 period.

Revenue fell 4.5 percent to $383 million from $401 million a year earlier, according to a news release. Construction revenue also declined as a factor in the lower results.

“We had a very strong operating quarter, despite record snowfall and overall difficult conditions in our core Northeast markets, especially in New England,” said Stephen Jones, Covanta president and CEO.

Covanta confirmed its 2015 guidance range of $450 million to $490 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA).

Covanta’s results fell short of Wall Street expectations, according to the Associated Press.The average estimate of six analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for a loss of 8 cents per share.

Covanta has been in the red for a while. It lost $5 million in 2014 and $8 million in 2013.

But it continues with strategic plans; most recently with a $45 million recycling center in Indianapolis it plans to open in 2016. It just partnered with RecycleForce to help staff the operation. RecycleForce helps formerly incarcerated individuals gain employment.



Two plasma gasification waste to energy developments are moving forward in Hawaii.

Pacific Business News reported that Honolulu-based Pelatron Q has submitted a land use request to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) for a 5 megawatt (MW) development in Oahu.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has reportedly been signed with landfill company PVT Land Co for feedstock, with electricity planned to be off taken by the Hawaiian Electric Co or NextEra Energy Inc, according to the source.

Pelatron Q plans to use the Solena Plasma Gasification and Vitrification (SPGV) technology – the same technology being used in London to process waste into jet fuel (read WMW story) – to generate a syngas from the waste for the production of electricity or biofuels.

Meanwhile in Kauai, the company is also working on a 9 MW waste to energy project, using waste from the Kekaha landfill site.

A total of $44 million is hoped to be raised in special purpose revenue bonds to fund the projects, through a Senate Bill.

Boeing aims to quit fossil fuel habit with tobacco-based jet fuel

The scientific consensus around smoking being bad for your health is famously as solid as that which demonstrates how human activity is contributing to climate change. Now Boeing and partner South African Airways (SAA) may have found a way to tackle both problems by producing renewable jet fuel from a special type of tobacco plant.

The two companies have teamed up for a pilot project that has seen about 120 acres (50 hectares) in Limpopo province planted with Solaris, a nicotine-free, energy-rich tobacco plant. Oil from the plant’s seeds will be converted into jet fuel that Boeing says can reduce carbon emissions by as much as 80 percent.

In the next few years, SAA will conduct a test flight using the fuel, taking the next step on its drive to be “the world’s most environmentally sustainable airline.” In doing so, it will follow in the footsteps of a range of carriers, including BA, Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic and most recently China’s Hainan Airlines, in experimenting with greener fuels. In fact, more than 1,600 passenger flights using sustainable aviation biofuel have been completed since the fuel was approved for commercial use in 2011.

Aviation industry embraces biofuels
Two years later, the industry committed to carbon neutral growth from 2020 (PDF), but is still struggling to work out exactly how to achieve that goal.

Darrin Morgan, director of Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ sustainable biofuel strategy, said airlines increasingly are turning to biofuels to reduce their emissions as the industry lacks other realistic options.

“Ground transport is electrifying as we speak. Power generation — they have many options to go towards renewables and decarbonize,” he told BusinessGreen. “Aviation doesn’t. We’re going to have to have liquid hydrocarbons for a very long time.”

The challenge for the industry is that the oil majors who supply them have made limited progress in delivering the lower-carbon fuels the sector craves. “Aviation uses only about 6 or 7 percent of total oil barrel use, so most of the oil companies view aviation as a very small player and it’s hard for them to justify the extra effort to supply our needs,” Morgan explained. “So part of why we realized we had to be so active in shaping the fuel landscape for ourselves is because we don’t have other options to diversify.”

Biofuels in South Africa

Biofuels plantations have been blamed for deforestation and other land-use change. Campaigners have warned these problems will get worse if airlines start demanding large quantities of alternative fuels.

Morgan suggests that in South Africa, at least, this should not be a problem. “About 14 percent of the arable land in South Africa is under-utilized or unutilized,” he said. “If just a small percentage of that 14 percent were used for Solaris or other similar feedstocks, you would provide enough fuel for all of SAA’s needs. It’s not displacing essential food crops [and] it’s a drop in the bucket in terms of total land footprint to produce quite a bit of what is needed.”

If Solaris reaches a critical mass in South Africa, Morgan can see the potential for investing in refineries in the country, churning out not just jet fuel, but also road transport fuel and renewable chemicals. This could revolutionize a country that as Morgan puts it, “failed to win the oil lottery” and, like many others in the region, relies on expensive imports of already refined petroleum.

Solaris is still in its early stages, so we will have to wait to get a picture of its true potential among the huge range of alternate fuels that will be needed to successfully decarbonize an aviation industry responsible for around 3 percent of global emissions.

Biofuels around the globe

Boeing is looking at a number of other options, including fuel from plants grown in the desert using saltwater, and it is optimistic that a range of bio-kerosenes promising to be both cleaner than standard fuels and with a greater energy density — essentially offering more power for less weight, a crucial property for aviation — soon will be certified for aviation use.

Currently, these fuels are sold for transport by Finland’s Neste Oil and Italian company ENI, but Morgan is convinced of the potential for aviation — he said the three refineries already open in Italy, Rotterdam and near Helsinki currently produce around 4 billion liters of bio-kerosene.

“Now on the global scale, that’s not very much, but for aviation that’s almost 2 percent of our fuels use with just these initial, first-of-their-kind renewable fuel plants,” he added.

The age of greener aviation may not have taken off just yet, but there are encouraging signs it is edging towards the runway.

Tobacco plants may boost biofuel and biorefining industries

Researchers will genetically modify tobacco plants to produce enzymes that can break down biomass from forest raw materials. This may lead to a more effective, economic and sustainable production of biofuels.

Biorefining industries produce fuel, power, heat, and various chemicals. The products are made from biomass, such as food waste and forest-based materials. Today the forest-based biorefining industries face huge challenges.

The cell walls of wood biomass are very hard to break down and large quantities of enzymes are required in the industrial process. A Norwegian based research project now aims to develop low cost production of industrial enzymes using tobacco plants as a “green factory”. Such enzymes may be used in the production of second generation biofuels, and to produce biochemicals that can replace various oil-based products. Second generation biofuels are made from non-food biomass.

It is cheap to produce industrial enzymes in plants

The first step to produce forest-based biofuels is to break down the biomass to sugar. To do this the industry needs a cocktail of enzymes. Currently the production cost of enzymes is high, which is a major impediment for a sustainable and cost effective biorefinery. This challenge is especially important for the Norwegian forest industry.

Usually chemical enzymes are produced in a fermenter-based system, which is a common industrial system to produce for instance food and alcohol. It is very expensive to build up a fermentation system. It has to be sterile, and it needs a lot of energy and water to control pressure and temperature. The Bioboost project will decrease the carbon footprint of biorefining by using genetically engineered tobacco, a non-food and non-feed crop, as a green enzyme factory. The goal is to replace energy demanding fermenter-based systems.

“Plants can use CO2 and energy from the sun for free. The whole production process of making the enzymes in plants is cheap, and environmentally friendly,” explains Dr. Jihong Liu Clarke from Bioforsk – The Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research. She is the leader of the Bioboost research project.

The tobacco plant is according to Liu Clarke ideal for this purpose, because it has a good biomass in the sense of many, and big, leaves. It also grows quickly, and can be harvested three or four times a year.

“The biotechnology used to recover enzymes is well known, and the tobacco plant is a good candidate because it has a lot of biomass that is easy to manipulate,” says Liu Clarke.

“Solutions that can contribute to lower the production costs of enzymes are urgently needed. I hope that this research project can contribute to at least one of the many solutions,” says Liu Clarke. The project is financed by the Research Council of Norway, and the project period is four years.

Enzymes are the most expensive production cost

In the first phase of the project researchers from Bioforsk, NFLI (Norwegian Forest and Landscape Institute), and NMBU (Norwegian University of Life Sciences) will search for good enzyme candidates.

“Our project aims to produce key cell wall degrading enzymes in tobacco at low cost, in addition to identifying and characterizing valuable new enzymes during the project period,” says Liu Clarke.

“We aim to carry out a pilot large-scale production of our selected enzymes in China, and our industrial partner Borregaard will test these enzymes once they are ready,” says Liu Clarke. She emphasises that she is happy to lead a highly competent research team with both Norwegian and international partners.


Borregaard is a Norwegian company that produces advanced and environmentally friendly biochemicals, biomaterials and bioethanol that can replace oil-based products.

The company has developed its own process to convert biomass to chemicals and biofuels. A demonstration plant has been up and running for the last two and a half years.

“Enzymes are the single most expensive production cost in this process, except for the raw material itself,” says Technology Director in Borregaard, Guldbrand Rødsrud.

He explains that a few producers maintain a high price level for enzymes. Today Borregaard depends on buying enzymes from these producers.

“We intend to search for other options, and a more effective production process. If the research team fulfils its goals, it can be the beginning of a new and cheaper way to produce enzymes. It may give us the possibility to become more competitive to oil-based products,” says Rødsrud.

Tobacco plants and GMO is like a cell phone

The researchers will search for a gene to put into the tobacco plant that will make the plant produce many enzymes, which again will break down biomass effectively.

Liu Clarke explains that they add gene codes for proteins, and the proteins produce a change.

“The genes are only genetic information. The functions lies in the product. We add genes that manipulate the tobacco plant to create the products we want.”

She compares the tobacco plant with a cell phone.


“Many years ago, my cell phone was just a phone and its weight was almost half a kilo. Today the phone has everything, like a camera, internet and a speech recorder. However, the core is still a phone. It is the same thing with the plants. The core is there, and the more we get to know the plants the better we get to know the technology.”

No major ethical dilemmas

Liu Clarke does not see any major ethical dilemmas regarding the application of GM (genetically modification) technology on tobacco plants.

“First of all, we do not eat the tobacco plant, and it does not grow naturally in Norway because the climate is too cold. The plants are cultivated in a confined greenhouse, with the permission of the Norwegian Directorate of Health. ”

“Many people are sceptical to GMOs, but in this case, we use tobacco plants with the help of biotechnology to produce valuable enzymes for industrial biorefinery. I believe there are mainly benefits, because we produce cheap enzymes and use the tobacco plant in a health-friendly way,” says Liu Clarke.


Biofuels and lack of political will

The five Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) have announced ambitious goals towards decarbonizing their energy systems by 2050. This means biofuels are expected to account for at least 50% of total energy use in transport by 2050. In Norway, a number of national strategies and policies have been launched to promote the production and use of energy from renewable sources, while at the same time revitalizing the forest sector.

Borregaard produces twenty million litres of ethanol every year, of which about five millions are used to produce biofuels. Still, very little of Borregaard’s produced biofuels are sold in Norway. Rødsrud explains that the general market for biofuels in Europe is at a standstill due to a lack of consistent and predictable policies.


“In Norway, a political decision is the only missing link to create a market. The production of second generation biofuels is already running in Sarpsborg. There is a critical need for long-term and predictable policies,” says Rødsrud.

He points out Switzerland as a successful example of a created biofuel market. The country is one of Borregaard’s major customers because it has implemented a law compulsorily blending second generation biofuels into fossil fuels.

10,000 protest in Chinese city over planned coal-fired power plant

Mimi Lau in Guangzhou

Big demonstration staged against energy project in northeastern Guangdong, home to reservoir that supplies water to Hong Kong

Around 10,000 residents of Heyuan in northeastern Guangdong took to the streets on Sunday to protest against a new coal-fired power plant, according to demonstrators.

Minor scuffles broke out between the demonstrators and members of the mainland’s special police but there were no reports of injuries.

The demonstration began with thousands of people staging a peaceful sit-in outside city government offices at about 8am. Many wore surgical masks and stickers denouncing the plant.

Police dispersed the crowd at around 10am, sending the protesters into the streets, where the numbers quickly swelled to around 10,000 before noon.

The crowd marched through the downtown area, chanting “Give me back my blue sky” and “Go away power plant”. Some protesters held small signs that read: “Stop feeding people with smog”.

“This is not just a small fraction of people with an ulterior motive but a concrete outpouring of public opinion from the entire Heyuan public. From babies to the elderly, everyone is appealing to our government to stop polluting our sky,” a woman protester said, refusing to be named.

Xinhua carried a report on the demonstration and put the number of participants in the thousands. But photos of the gathering suggested the crowd could be much bigger.

The city is home to the Xinfengjiang Reservoir, a major source of water for Hong Kong, and already has one coal-fired plant supplying electricity.

Shenzhen Energy is spending 8 billion yuan (HK$10.12 billion) to build the new plant, which will generate 11 billion kWh annually. The Shenzhen government is the major shareholder in Shenzhen Energy.

Construction was due to begin this year, according to local media.

Protesters staged another sit-in about 200 metres from the administration office around lunchtime.

Huang Jianzhong, the deputy party secretary of Heyuan, addressed the crowd in the afternoon, saying the project was only in the preliminary study stage. Another march began at 4pm that saw main roads blocked.

The city government could not be reached for comment.

Last month, residents collected more than 30,000 signatures against the project.

Source URL (modified on Apr 13th 2015, 4:43am):

ZTE to expand wireless charging facilities for Tesla-like electric buses across China


A China-made electric bus, among a new fleet of green cars rolled out across the mainland. Photo: Xinhua

Telecoms giant ZTE Corp is about to launch a wireless charging service for electric buses in several mainland cities, a step towards becoming a key player in the growing market of alternative-fuel vehicles.

Academus Tian, vice-president of ZTE’s New Energy division, said its technology would go into operation for 10 bus routes in June, with the transport companies paying for the service.

Tian declined to specify which cities would receive the service or the price the companies would pay, but ZTE already had wireless charging stations in seven mainland cities, including Chengdu in Sichuan , Kunming in Yunnan and Shenzhen.

A Tesla Motors Model S electric car recharged by connecting to a charger inside an auto store in Germany. A big complaint among electric-vehicle drivers in China is the lack of enough recharging stations. Photo: Bloomberg

A Tesla Motors Model S electric car recharged by connecting to a charger inside an auto store in Germany. A big complaint among electric-vehicle drivers in China is the lack of enough recharging stations. Photo: Bloomberg

The company planned to invest 3.5 billion yuan (HK$4.4 billion) in the technology within two years, local media reported earlier this year, although Tian cautioned that the amount was “not fixed”.

The system involves an energy transmission module, buried underground, and a reception module installed on the vehicle. The stations can be built at bus terminals or car parks.

The mainland government is making a concerted push towards increasing reliance on “green” vehicles, with the transport ministry announcing last month that officials aimed to add 200,000 buses and 100,000 taxis powered by alternative fuels by 2020.

With an eye on that growing market, Tian said ZTE hoped to work with vehicle makers to ensure 30 per cent of new electric buses and vans would be equipped with wireless-charging abilities in the next two years, most of them using the company’s technology. “We have signed agreements with over a dozen car makers and more [are coming],” Tian said.

One hurdle the market faces is the relative scarcity of charging stations. US-based Tesla struck a deal with China Unicom to build 400 charging stations in more than 100 mainland cities, but Tesla’s Chinese customers have complained the coverage is not enough.

ZTE faces the additional challenge of bringing wireless charging costs in line with traditional systems. It’s now twice as expensive. “But the cost of wireless charging would [be] cut sharply if it attracts a large quantity of users,” Tian said.