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PKU and Berkeley Lab Forge Ties on Carbon Capture and Storage Research

NOV . 24 2009

Peking University, Beijing, Nov 23: Peking University and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the US agreed on Nov. 12th to jointly pursue the development of safe and effective carbon capture and storage techniques.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was entered between the University of California, which manages Berkeley Lab, and Peking University. It was signed by Don DePaolo, director of Berkeley Lab’s Earth Sciences Division and professor of Earth and planetary science at the University of California, Berkeley, and Prof. Chen Shiyi, Dean of PKU’s College of Engineering (COE).

This technology holds strong promise to help mitigate climate change by capturing carbon dioxide from major sources, such as coal-burning power plants, and injecting it deep underground for permanent storage.

Prof. Chen believes that effective measures must be taken to deal with the green house effects. The technology of carbon capture and storage, though not yet widely applied in a large scale around the world, is significant in meeting the challenges of climate change, especially for China, a major coal producer and energy consumer.

The collaboration was cemented at the China-US Workshop on Carbon Capture & Storage, a two-day event sponsored by the Philomathia Foundation through a grant to UC Berkeley. The workshop, held at Peking University, brought together scientists from Berkeley Lab, Stanford University, and several Chinese research institutions.

"The MOU is a formalization of our intent to jointly use our resources and share information so that we can pursue research that will help accelerate the deployment of carbon capture and storage in both countries over the next 10 to 20 years," says DePaolo.

The importance of the memorandum of understanding is underscored by the fact that China and the US together are responsible for 40 percent of the world’s emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas derived from the combustion of fossil fuels. Compounding the problem, fossil fuels such as coal are likely to remain cheap and plentiful source of energy for decades to come - thus continuing their potential contributions to climate change.

"Carbon capture and storage may be a very effective technology, especially over the next 100 years, in reducing the amount of carbon that is introduced into the atmosphere as a result of energy production," adds DePaolo.

In order for carbon capture and storage to have a significant impact on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, advances are needed in both the capture technology and the understanding of subsurface processes related to carbon dioxide injection, trapping, and monitoring.

Future projects facilitated by the memorandum of understanding could include joint carbon capture and storage tests, research on identifying the best storage sites, and the development of computer models of storage site performance, to cite a few examples.

The COE- Berkeley Lab collaboration is the latest milestone in PKU’s role as one of the first institutions in that research field. In September 2009, Stanford University’s Global Climate and Energy Project initiated an international collaboration with Peking University, the University of Southern California and China University of Geosciences at Wuhan, to address fundamental issues associated with large-scale sequestration of carbon dioxide in saline aquifers in China.

Prof. Zhang Dongxiao, Vice-dean of COE, is in charge of the project, which has been funded close to $2 million for research.

Translated by: Jacques
Edited by: Seren
Source: PKU News (Chinese) & Berkeley Lab