When four students at a Kwai Chung secondary school were told they should take steps to create a more energy-efficient world, they took it literally. The students at SKH Li Ping Secondary School have spent the best part of the past year developing the working prototype of a staircase that generates electricity using the weight of people walking up and down it. 'For places which have a large human flow, like MTR stations and schools, a large amount of power can be generated to be used for other purposes,' said Eric Li Sai-lung, 18, one of the four Form Seven students who designed the eco-friendly staircase. 'We wanted to collect this wasted kinetic energy.' The project was funded with a grant of HK$61,000 from China Light and Power's annual HK$1million Energy Innovation Fund, which the students secured by proposing the concept in October last year. They were then given a year to develop the idea and realise their vision. Eric said the team got the idea for the staircase from an electric torch, which could be recharged by hand. Months of trial and error followed. 'We failed so many times. It was very time-consuming and difficult. We paid for this with our time and we paid with our minds,' Eric said. 'But it has encouraged us to ... go to university to indulge ourselves in advanced knowledge and continue our dreams in invention in the future.' China Light and Power's 2008 Energy Innovation Fund grants will be awarded in December. Deadline for applications is October 17. Call 2678 8820 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for details.