15 Jul, 2015 12:7 HKT
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Innovation & Technology

Innovative Hong Kong

Apart from its magnificent harbour and plentiful granite, Hong Kong is not rich in natural resources. But we make up for this with high quality human resources and their proven ability to innovate.

That is why international rankings consistently place the city at the forefront of innovation. For example, Hong Kong ranks 14th in the 2016 Global Innovation Index, jointly published by INSEAD, Cornell University and the World Intellectual Property Organization.

Talented people, world-class research facilities and robust intellectual property protection underpin Hong Kong's growing success in science and technology.

Over the years, Hong Kong's scientific community has made major breakthroughs in fields ranging from chemistry and physics to medicine and advanced robotics.

This is Our Hong Kong. Why not make it Yours?

“The new clean fuel. Water.”

A research team at the Chinese University of Hong Kong has found a way to create clean fuel by simply exposing water (laced with a secret ingredient) to sunlight.

“The secret ingredient is red phosphorus. Under sunlight, it breaks up water to give off bubbles of hydrogen gas, a clean fuel,” says team leader Professor Jimmy Yu. “It is a very exciting development.”

Red phosphorus is a versatile element, commonly used as a flame retardant. It was generally regarded as an insulator instead of as a semiconductor – until the Hong Kong scientists discovered its other potential.

“Red phosphorus is an abundant substance that would never be used up,” Professor Yu explains. “It is found in the earth's crust, making its extraction easy.”

The clean fuel (hydrogen gas) produced in the process has a very high fuel capacity and creates more energy than other chemical fuels. The process of conversion leaves only water as a by-product, not toxic gas.

“The final goal is to develop an environmentally friendly way to generate clean fuel,” says Professor Yu, who holds several patents for his inventions. Thomson Reuters named him the “World's Most Influential Scientific Minds” in 2014.

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