PNNL, NETL and Chinese Academy Begin Cooperative Work on Coal Conversion, Emissions Capture and Carbon Storage

Researchers from the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have formed the Clean Energy Partnership to accelerate the development and deployment of coal conversion, emissions capture and carbon storage technologies.

Laboratory directors from PNNL and NETL met with researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing to kick off the new clean energy technology research effort in June. The projects are the first activities to come out of a 2009 memorandum of understanding among the three organizations.

As part of the MOU, the research team, called the Clean Energy Partnership, will perform research projects in three areas.

  • First, researchers will evaluate the challenges and costs of deploying emissions capture and storage technologies in China in depleted oil fields and deep geological formations.

  • Second, scientists and engineers will collaborate on co-gasification of coal and biomass as well as the development of new, higher temperature materials and processes to remove impurities in the emissions stream.

  • Third, the team will improve the overall efficiency and economics of converting synthetic gas into natural gas using advance computational simulations and through developing new catalyst materials.

PNNL’s collaborations with China date back to the early 1990s when it helped found the Beijing Energy Efficiency Center. However, collaborations have become more common in recent years.

In 2006, PNNL joined with the Chinese Academy of Science’s Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics and its Institute of Coal Chemistry to form the International Consortium for Clean Energy, or ICCE. Supported by an investment from PNNL and with encouragement from CAS President Lu Yongxiang, this mechanism has brought more than 25 senior US and Chinese scientists together to conduct research.

In the course of forming the ICCE, Yongxiang challenged CAS, PNNL and NETL to develop a more extensive effort to address fossil energy conversion and emissions capture and sequestration. As a result, PNNL and NETL directors signed an MOU with the CAS Research Center for Energy and Power in May 2009, with the aim of significantly reducing environmental emissions and improving efficiency of fossil fuel conversion.


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