Starting as an air-conditioning manufacturer 22 years ago in Hunan Province, Broad has managed to become an exporter of non-electric chillers to more than 70 countries. Broad says that their absorption chiller can be twice as energy efficient as conventional air conditioning by turning heating directly into cooling and avoiding energy losses from traditional air conditioner's multiple energy conversions to produce heat. Broad's chillers provide central air conditioning to all Expo pavilions.
In recent years, the company invested generously in the research of construction's energy efficiency. In June 2008, Broad set up an energy efficiency company with the "highest building energy efficiency" as its goal. The prospects to promote Broad-standard sustainable buildings look very promising.
"Cities from across China compete to be the next location of our pavilion after the Expo and we are also under negotiation with many city governments to construct similar sustainable buildings up to 50 floors high as model projects," said the energy efficiency company's general manager Fu Lixin.
Clothes of the Future: Recyclable and Biodegradable Textiles
Exhibition Venues: Germany Pavilion and Japan Industrial Pavilion
How Long: Available Now
What have designers of staff outfits at Expo pavilions aspired for? A strong national flavor? Yes. A smart and stylish look? Absolutely. But another thing most designers bear in mind is to choose environmentally friendly, even biodegradable, materials and fabrics in keeping with the Expo's green agenda.
Sustainability is an important issue for the German representation at the Expo 2010. This begins with the clothes for the hostesses and hosts at the pavilion. The designing team of Novanex, an Erfurt-based company for design and product development, not only possesses unique know-how in the development and realization of individual clothing concepts but also specializes in sustainable textiles. The entire line is made in Germany. This both proves the ecological expertise of German industry and keeps down the carbon footprint during the production process.
There is a concept behind all of the skirts, dresses, trousers, jackets, hats and bags, which mixes style and functionality with eco-friendliness. "The outfits are worn daily. So the clothing line must be very recognizable, as well as easy to clean and durable, because Shanghai's hot and humid climate, in particular during the summer months, demands daily cleaning," Pavilion Director Urte Fechter explains. Novanex, therefore, chose the Eco Circle fiber, a hard-wearing, specialized polyester fiber produced by a Japanese company Teijin. The material can be reclaimed as an actual textile fiber in a recycling process.
Teijin's Eco Circle is a closed-loop recycling system incorporating the world's first polyester chemical recycling technology. The system chemically decomposes polyester for conversion into new polyester raw materials that offer purity comparable to those derived from petroleum. The same fiber is also used in uniforms worn by staff at the Japan Industrial Pavilion, which will be collected and recycled after the Expo.
Teijin's Biofront heat-resistant bio-plastic is used in silk crepe kimonos worn by staff at Murasaki, a restaurant in the Japan Industrial Pavilion. Biofront, an environmentally friendly bio-plastic produced from plant-based feedstock, is superior to conventional bio-plastics in terms of both heat resistance and durability. Its melting point of 210 degrees Celsius is significantly higher than the 170 degrees Celsius melting point of conventional bio-plastics, which allows Biofront to withstand ironing and fabric dyeing.
The white T-shirts of the Germany Pavilion uniforms are also made according to the principles of sustainability. They have all the properties of ordinary cotton clothing but can be composted when they are worn out. "As soon as the cotton shirts come into contact with certain bacterial cultures they are completely broken down. And the dyes and buttons are biodegradable too," Alexandra Baum, General Manger of Novanex, explains. The plan is to bury the shirts on the Germany Pavilion plot when the Expo is over, so they can nourish the trees that are to turn the Expo site into Shanghai's first "green lung."
Robots of the Future
Exhibition Venue: France Pavilion, Urban Best Practices Area, Japan Pavilion and Japan Industrial Pavilion
How Long: Unknown
ROBOTIC MUSICIAN: With its dexterous hands, a Toyota-developed Partner Robot plays Jasmine Flower, a famous Chinese folk song, on a violin at the Japan Pavilion (LI LI)
In recent decades, robots have taken on many more tasks besides just assembling machines. Humanoid robots displayed at the Expo show that they might one day become mankind's competent and intelligent domestic assistants and loyal friends.
Humanoid robots Nao, developed by the French company Aldebaran Robotics, meet with visitors at the France Pavilion and an exhibition on Paris in the Urban Best Practices Area. Guides at both venues, the 58-cm-tall robots include a computer and networking capability at their core and speak to people in English, French and Chinese. The versatile robots can sing, dance, do taiji boxing, play jazz and kick footballs.
One of the most impressive exhibits at the Japan Pavilion is its violin-playing Partner Robot, which was developed by the Toyota Motor Corp. in response to Japan's growing need to take care of the aging population. The Partner Robot is designed to help out the elderly with nursing, medical care and housework. The joints of the hands and arms are coordinated by a sophisticated control mechanism, allowing delicate, human-like movements, including accurately fingering the violin's strings and moving the bow across them to make music.
The most hard-working robots at the Expo are none other than the ladder-climbing robots on the western facade of the Japan Industrial Pavilion. The three 1.4-meter-tall robots climb up and down a height of 20 meters. Japanese engineer Tamai Hirohumi told Xinhua the robots are more flexible because of special chips embedded in their joints."They could replace people doing dangerous work high above the ground," he said.