Joint U.S.-China Energy Research Takes Shape

Eli is a contributing correspondent for Science magazine.

Bilateral talks this week between the two superpowers have pinpointed three areas of collaboration for the newly established U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center. Those are efficient buildings, clean vehicles, and so-called clean coal.

Work plans for each topic lay out the 5 years of the partnership. Some of the work will involve working independently toward common goals, but there are also plans to have scientists from both nations work closely together. "Both the United States and China recognize that we can make more progress by working together than by working alone," Energy Secretary Steve Chu said this week in an op-ed.

Energy efficiency work, for example, will be led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Mark Levine and Liang Junqiang of the Chinese Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development. It will include case studies and statistical data collection allowing scientists to compare the two countries' building energy consumption.

Vehicle work, to be led jointly by Dennis Assanis of the University of Michigan and Minggao Ouyang of Tsinghua University, will focus on electric cars and the systems required to support them. The effort will track among its metrics the number of new scientists trained as well as the "number, frequency, duration of personnel exchanged/co-located among organizations."

The coal work appears to contain the most details. Its work plan includes six specific projects on different aspects of the problem, with detailed lists of partners from each country and broadly defined technical goals.

Posted in Policy, Asia