The Department of Energy (DOE) is leading a U.S. multi-agency team to help Beijing achieve World Health Organization (WHO) standards for urban air quality by 2008—in time for the Summer Olympics.
The Chinese government intends to invest $17–$23 billion to meet the goal, and is planning on major reductions in coal use, tougher fuel-quality and emissions standards and further development of a protective greenbelt that separates north China from silt-laden desert winds.
A US-China Joint Working Group (JWG) for the Green Olympics Protocol identified 10 areas for cooperation:
- Natural-gas technology
- Combined cooling, heating and power (CCHP)
- Clean coal
- Hydrogen and fuel-cell vehicle demonstration
- Environmentally friendly buildings
- Urban transportation
- Air quality
- Water quality
- Solar photovoltaics
- Beijing-Chicago Friendship Cities Initiative to promote local environmental activities
Among the JWG plans for the transportation side is a Hydrogen Park in the Olympic Village featuring five buses using HCNG (a mix of hydrogen and natural gas). (Related post) GM is donating a zero-emissions electric bus for use during the Olympics.
There are other US-China partnerships tackling related areas that are also using the Olympics in 2008 as a target.
The US/China Energy and Environmental Technology Center (EETC), for example, is working with the DOE and Beijing City to develop a framework of collaborations and specific tasks to transfer US clean energy technologies for improving and the environmental performance of the regional energy sector.
One such EETC project is supporting Powerzinc, a zinc-air fuel cell developer incorporated in the US with headquarters in California and R&D and manufacturing in Shanghai, in the commercial deployment of its zinc-air fuel cell-powered, zero-emission, electric vehicles.
FAW Bus and Coach Wuxi Works are building a prototype electric zinc-air bus using Powerzinc fuel cells. (Related post) The zinc-air bus will be demonstrated this year and ready for operation for the Games. Beijing has set a target of more than 3,000 such clean vehicles. Another major market is Shanghai for its 2010 WorldExpo.
Powerzinc is a member of the new Zinc Energy Storage Consortium (ZEST). (Earlier post.)