Some of the next steps in Chinese-United States cooperation in developing cleaner coal technologies were discussed this week at West Virginia University as some of the top players from both countries joined to share strategies and technologies at a workshop at the National Research Center for Coal and Energy.

Wu Guihui, engineer general of the National Energy Administration for the People’s Republic of China and leader of the Chinese delegation, told an audience of about 125 that the workshop was an important step in following up on the recent meeting between President Hu Jintao and President Barack Obama. The workshop participants were the people who would be responsible for making changes to cleaner energy, he said.

And Jerald Fletcher, a workshop organizer and WVU professor and director of the WVU US-China Energy Center, said, “It is incumbent on the U.S. and China as the world’s largest users of coal to develop technologies to reduce the carbon footprint of this essential energy resource.”

The 2009 US-China Coal Conversion and Carbon Management Workshop included presentations by a list of Who’s Who in the coal, electricity, and chemical industries. U.S. presenters included: Peabody Energy, CONSOL Energy, Baard Energy, Eastman Chemical Co., Quad3 Engineers, American Electric Power, Arizona Public Utilities, WVU, the National Energy Technology Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy.

Chinese presenters included: the Shenhua Group, ENN, Lu’ An, Yankuang Group Co., Ltd., and Shanxi Yanchang Petroleum Ltd., along with the China Academy of Sciences’ Coal Chemistry Institute, Nanjing Institute, and Dalian Institute, the Thermal Power Research Institute, and the National Energy Administration for China.

Victor Der, principal deputy assistant secretary for the DOE Office of Fossil Energy, described the Obama administration’s support of carbon capture and storage through its $3.4 billion investment through recovery act funds. Those funds will be matched by industry cost share for a total $7 billion US investment for technology development.

Discussions focused on converting coal to liquids and to synthetic natural gas for transportation and electricity generation and capturing and storing carbon dioxide from these processes. While the technical challenges and the associated costs are quite high at the moment, many were optimistic that technologies would be developed to meet the challenges.

The participants recognized that energy efficiency and other alternative energy sources are an important part of the vision for the future of energy, but said publicly and privately that both the U.S. and China will continue to rely on coal to meet much of each nation’s energy demands for the foreseeable future.

The event was hosted by the WVU National Research Center for Coal and Energy and the US-China Energy Center with support from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Sequestration, Hydrogen and Clean Coal Fuels and sponsorship from Peabody Energy, the Gasification Technologies Council, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.


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