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Expo sees the light on historic chimney

2009. 7 July

( An old chimney of Shanghai's century-old power plant will be illuminated by twinkling lights at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.

It was initially earmarked as a platform for visitors to undergo a spectacular roller-coaster ride, a senior Expo official said yesterday.

However, the technology for the initial plan was "still "immature," said Sun Liansheng, director of the Urban Best Practices Area Department of the Shanghai Expo Bureau.

The 165-meter chimney is on the Puxi side of the Expo site along the Huangpu River in the 110-year-old Nanshi Power Plant.

An experiment was successful on a 20-meter-tall model for the roller-coaster plan, but failed when it went any higher, Sun said.

Besides, the former plan would turn the chimney into a "playground item," which had little connection with the "Better City, Better Life" Shanghai Expo theme, he told city media representatives.

In the new plan, the "Harmony Tower" will be illuminated to be a modern sculpture each night. Colorful rays will form different three-dimensional structures, wrapping around the chimney.

It will also be one of the Urban Best Practices showcases at the 2010 event, which will display innovations to make city life better.

The illumination will be planned and provided by French city Lyon, which is famous for its energy-efficient street-lighting systems.

Lyon's lighting system saves up to 17 percent in annual energy consumption. The system will be widely used in the Urban Best Practices Area.

The chimney was still expected to be one of the major Expo attractions, Sun said.

The iron and concrete chimney was constructed in 1985 and designed to stand for at least 50 years.

The Nanshi plant is the oldest power plant in China and is located in Shanghai's earliest industrialized area.

Its workshops, with a floor area of 9,150 square meters, also form part of the Expo Best Practices exhibition.