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BP to help CAS commercialise clean energy technologies



Hepeng Jia/ Beijing, China 

In an effort to commercialise clean technologies for China's local needs, British Petroleum (BP) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have signed a deal to help exploit research by scientists at the academy's institutes. 

The agreement, signed on 18 January during UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown's visit to Beijing, will see the partners undertake a feasibility study into a proposed Clean Energy Commercialization Centre (CECC). 

The centre would look to exploit research in a number of areas including coal gasification, coal to liquids, coal to chemical, carbon capture and storage, coal bed methane and underground gasification. 

According to Michael Zhao, a spokesman for BP China, BP and CAS have established a joint working group with a view to launching the centre by the end of 2008. 

'BP has developed capacities to do large-scale pre-production research on clean technologies, and as a result of the collaboration with CAS, more basic technologies could go into production,' Zhao told Chemistry World

Xu Ang, an official with CAS's international bureau in charge of the BP project, agrees. 'We have a lot of good [ideas for] technologies, but most of them don't go any further than paper publication. We are in urgent need of the advanced management and experience [that BP can offer],' Xu says.  

Within CAS, efficient coal burning and coal chemical technologies are the focus of institutes like the Taiyuan-based Institute of Coal Chemistry and the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics. 

Wu Jinhu, a senior researcher at the Institute of Coal Chemistry, believes that to date much of the research has been limited to small-scale lab experiments with little industry support to take the work further. 

'I think the deal is beneficial for BP as well,' said Wu. 'It helps the company to trace more locally adaptable technologies.' 

But he adds the success of the CECC will depend on whether the centre can identify technologies for which there is real market demand.