Geometrica domes for limestone storage under construction in South Africa.
While American entrepreneur Tom Watson says he hasn't regretted not investing in China during the past three decades, he's now ready to take the plunge. "Time was not on our side then," says Watson, whose company specializes in air filtration systems.
Now he realizes the time is right as China upgrades its industrial structure.
"We should catch the tide now," says Watson, who joined 19 US companies led by US Commerce Assistant Secretary David Bohigian to find clean energy and environment investment opportunities in China and India this month.
As vice-president of Filter 1, which designs and manufactures industrial air filtration systems, Watson says his Texas-based company is small but serves some "big names". With less than 50 employees, the company offers clean air solutions to military bases in the United States and big airline, jet and engine producers such as Boeing and GE.
"Our experiences gathered all over the years can help us obtain more opportunities in China," says Watson, describing his first visit to China as an "exploration trip".
Also on its first business travel trip to China, America-based Eco Energy Solutions (EES) is seeking opportunities to partner with large oil companies and expand its business.
Established in 2005, EES is a new company after acquiring emulsified fuel pioneer Clean Fuels Technology Inc, but the technology has a long history that dates back to World War II.
EES says its emulsified fuels that are composed of water, petroleum and additives make fuel burn cleaner and more effectively and the emulsion technology can be applied for every type of petroleum, including diesel, biodiesel and heavy oil.
It says emulsified diesel fuel has been proven to reduce NOx emissions by up to 15 percent and particulate matter emissions by up to 58 percent, and that it can boost fuel efficiency up to 6 percent.
Since China is pursuing an eco-friendly society, coupled with a dramatic rise in vehicles, EES is seeking opportunities in China such as oil distribution companies, vehicle engines and boilers.
EES' delegate senior engineer Thomas M Houlihan says EES is working on agreements with a large shoe factory for its boilers and a bus company for its diesel engines, but declined to give their names.
China and the US signed a 10-year agreement on cooperation in energy and environmental protection at the strategic economic dialogue (SED) held in July. As a "major achievement" of the fourth SED, the two governments have agreed to increase energy efficiency and reduce pollution.
The agreement calls for cooperation on a range of issues, from energy efficiency in power generation and transportation and water treatment to reducing air pollution and preserving the wetlands and forest resources.
Zhang Xiaoqiang, vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, says China and the US have to meet the challenge of rising energy costs through long-term and extensive cooperation.
"Cooperation in cleaner technologies can not only bring business opportunities but also help ensure energy security worldwide," says Zhang. "It's because the two countries are both big energy consumers."
The dome-shaped National Grand Theatre (or "Egg") in the heart of Beijing, west of Tiananmen Square, has added a futuristic feature for the city's skyline.