MORGANTOWN – A new partnership between West Virginia University and China Shenhua Energy Co. is expected to promote discoveries that could provide cleaner, cheaper energy to countries across the globe.
Officials from WVU and a delegation from Shenhua met in
Morgantown on Oct. 27 to create a partnership focused on the development of
clean energy technologies. University Provost Joyce McConnell signed a memorandum of
understanding with Wang Shumin, senior vice president of Shenhua.
“One major benefit of the partnership is to be able to test
and pilot technologies in China that can be used in West Virginia once the
technology is proven,” Brian Anderson, director of the WVU Energy Institute,
told The West Virginia Record.
U.S. Rep. David B. McKinley, a Republican who serves West Virginia’s First Congressional District, visited China last fall and met with Shenhua’s chairman
and president to see their operations firsthand.
“Our mission has been to diversify the economy through
research so we can grow the number of good paying jobs here in West Virginia,”
McKinley told The West Virginia Record.
“The signing of this agreement is a welcome development because the partnership
between Shenhua and West Virginia University will help achieve that goal.”
WVU said in a news release the partnership will promote
collaboration on technology innovation, education and training exchanges and
joint energy business development across the university's Statler College of Engineering
and Mineral Resources, College of Business and Economics, Davis College of
Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, and the College of Law.
The school said the partnership also will enable WVU to have
a closer relationship with Shenhua as a strategic partner in energy issues.
Shenhua has business interests in coal production, renewable
energy, power generation, railroads, ports and seaborne shipments, as well as coal
conversion and chemical production, including research and development and
WVU and Shenhua have a long history of collaboration,
including joint research and development, training and educational exchanges.
Anderson said the WVU/Shenhua relationship began more than
10 years ago with collaborative projects in converting coal into chemicals and
“We have held technical exchanges and training programs
between China and the U.S., with the US Department of Education sending representatives to Shenhua
and Shenhua sending executives to the U.S.,” Anderson said.
WVU said the new partnership demonstrates its global
leadership in the energy resources, mining and environment sectors.
Specifically, Anderson said WVU and the Shenhua Group will
be partnering on research efforts that cut across different types of clean
energy technologies, including advanced combustion of coal, carbon capture
utilization and storage, natural gas production and use.
Anderson said the partnership allows the parties to “work together
on developing technologies that lower the environmental impact of coal power
generation, plus developing carbon capture and sequestration technologies that
can be used for natural gas, as well as coal power generation.”
The Shenhua Group also has opened the National Institute for
Clean, low-carbon Energy (NICE) in Beijing and Mountain View, Calif. Anderson said WVU will be working with NICE on additional clean energy
technologies, such as wind and solar, that could be deployed as well as manufactured in West Virginia.
Anderson said WVU researchers are very active in developing
many different clean energy technologies as well as performing research into opportunities
for economic development and diversification of the West Virginia economy through
clean energy technologies.
Active research in the Davis College is developing pathways
to use woody biomass resources as a fuel source and optimizing biocrops to be
used on reclaimed surface mine lands across the state, Anderson said. Additionally,
he said WVU has been conducting extensive research in geothermal exploration
and development and wind turbine design.
“Materials development research at WVU is improving solar
panel efficiency and using sunlight to create liquid fuels from CO2,” Anderson