China Entrepreneur Network Forum 2011
US-China Collaboration in Sustainable Energy Systems
U.S. companies and research centers have the edge over China in creating next-generation, clean energy technology, but the world’s most populous nation presents perhaps the best market for such innovations to gain traction — if the countries can work together.
Both John Hynes, Corning Inc. energy project manager, and Jim Moran, Advanced Energy Group CEO, are doing business in China, and each addressed that proposition in a discussion of “U.S. Collaboration in Sustainable Energy Systems” at the China Entrepreneur Network Forum.
Advanced Energy’s sustainable geothermal technology uses ground water pumped through a closed-loop heat exchange system for heating and cooling buildings and/or larger urban districts. “I believe that geothermal energy should be no different than the water, electric, and gas systems currently provided in communities,” he said.
Hynes noted that Corning is engaging with China by bringing its Global Energy Management (GEM) program — designed to reduce energy usage, lower operating costs and promote environmental health at each company site — to manufacturing facilities the company is building in China.
Through GEM, Hynes said, Corning has introduced natural gas energy systems that provide both heat and power at the company’s plants, substantially reducing its carbon footprint. “We monitor utilities usage at each of our sites, and we have been able to reduce the number of steps in our manufacturing processes,” he said.
GEM is providing a good payback on Corning’s investments in energy efficiency involving numerous company sites, said Hynes. Among the lessons learned through GEM are that employees at all levels must be engaged in energy management programs, he added.
Panelist Shi Fan, a research scientist with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Lab, said that progress is being made on addressing climate change through U.S.-China collaborations such as the Clean Energy Research Center. That partnership includes a memorandum of understanding between the two nations to promote joint ventures in research and development and technology transfers.
The U.S. and China both have huge coal reserves, and both are the biggest emitters of CO2 in the world, Fan noted. Joint research projects already underway through CERC include carbon capture and storage technologies and bilateral agreements to focus on clean coal energy production.
“International cooperation is required to solve global energy problems,” Fan said. “Both the U.S. and China need to push research and development in sustainable energy systems — and both need to get the society at large involved in supporting those systems.”