Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced the formation of two new joint United States—China Clean Energy Research Centers to focus on clean coal and clean vehicle technology. Each CERC is expected to be backed by $50 million over the next five years composed of both government and non-government funds.
The Obama administration and Chinese leaders announced plans to form three energy-related consortia in July 2009, and the DOE started accepting proposals in March of this year. Chu says the third CERC group will be announced later this fall.
The original CERC concept is one that would “facilitate joint research and development on clean energy by teams of scientists and engineers from the U.S. and China, as well as serve as a clearinghouse to help researchers in each country.” The plans also mentioned have one CERC headquarters in each country.
The aim of the Clean Coal CERC consortium is to develop and test new technologies for carbon capture and sequestration, and the group will be led by West Virginia University. Participating U.S. institutions and businesses include the University of Wyoming, University of Kentucky, Indiana University, Lawrence Livermore National Lab, Los Alamos National Lab, National Energy Technology Lab, World Resources Institute, U.S.-China Clean Energy Forum, General Electric, Duke Energy, LP Amina, Babcock & Wilcox and American Electric Power.
The third consortium is expected to one that focuses on energy efficiency in building and construction.
The Clean Vehicles consortium, led by the University of Michigan, includes Ohio State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sandia National Laboratories, Joint BioEnergy Institute, Oak Ridge National Labs, General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Chrysler, Cummins, Fraunhofer, MAGNET, A123, American Electric Power, First Energy and the Transportation Research Center.
The DOE announcement states that the Chinese partnering institutions and companies for each consortia will be announce “in the coming months.”
DOE is splitting $25 million between the two groups. This is being matched by funds from the grantees. In addition, China will provide an equal amount of funding, such that each consortia will end up with a budget of around $50 million. The $100 million total represents a significant increase over the $12.5 million originally pledged.
The DOE adds that the U.S. government monies will be used only for work performed by U.S. “institutions and individuals.”
The agency says it already manages 12 science and technology agreements with China.