Clean Energy: Facing the Future A ten year R&D program
"We are working on the study of polygeneration based on coal. This system can reduce air pollution, and it will also provide a chance to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the future."
-Hong Tao Zheng, PHD Student, Tsinghua Clean Energy Centre
"China has the opportunity of making technology choices for their energy that the developed world does not. It has the opportunity to use newer technologies or a variety of alternate fuels that didn't exist when Europe and the US built their power plants, refineries and automobile factories."
-Steve Wittrig manager for the Clean Energy Programme, BP
The rapid growth of China's economy will be fuelled by huge amounts of energy. How to keep the balance between the development and the environment, how to meet the country's huge energy demands without damaging to the environment are the big challenges in front of us.
The choices that China makes with respect to energy over the next ten to twenty years will have a large influence on the energy technologies that will grow to a dominant use in China, the overall energy efficiency of the economy and many aspects of environmental impact and living standards through the 21st century. China has the opportunity to create its new infrastructure to utilize the most efficient, cleanest energy technologies. This will require good knowledge of the options available, world-class capabilities to develop and utilize emerging technologies and increased dialogue between scientists, business leaders and government policy makers to understand and optimise the choices that will be made.
In November 2001, BP established the Clean Energy: Facing the Future programme in China with the Chinese Academy of Sciences ( CAS) and Tsinghua University to create a partnership within China to address these issues and opportunities. BP is providing $10 million over a ten-year period to fund research in new clean energy technologies. This programme aims to develop and prove new clean options for China and the rest of the world.
The programme is managed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences with input from an academic committee comprised of members from BP and Tsinghua University. The programme includes several projects at CAS's Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics and Shenyang Institute of Metals Research, both in north east China.
The Programme in more detail
We expect the portfolio of projects to evolve over time, some of the most interesting initial projects are:
- Modified Fischer-Tropsch catalysts for more advantageous product distributions
- New methods for hydrogen storage (both physical and chemical approaches)
- Direct conversion of methane to hydrogen and aromatics
Tsinghua University in Beijing will concentrate on modelling of large systems that are related to this effort. Tsinghua has created a model of China's energy economy that can provide scenarios of energy development over the next 50 years. This model will be developed to create better understanding of the implications and opportunities of various energy policy choices. There is also project to model the implications large-scale use of polygeneration – based on converting coal to synthesis gas – to satisfy the entire energy needs of a city with reduced environmental impact.
Laboratory and pilot technology work is being carried out at the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics in north-eastern China.
The Shenyang Institute in north-eastern China is conducting experiments into hydrogen storage using carbon nanotubes. The leaders of the research programme in China are Professor Xinhe Bao, Director of the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics and Professor Ni Wei Dou, Tsinghua University.
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