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China unveils Dalian National Laboratory for Clean Energy; initial focus on clean fossil-fuel technologies

Nature. China has officially opened a national clean energy research center, the Dalian National Laboratory for Clean Energy.

“Our goal is to lead energy research in the country, and to rank among the world’s top energy labs,” says Can Li, head of the Dalian National Laboratory for Clean Energy (DNL), which was inaugurated in early October. Li says the facility will combine all major areas of energy research, including cleaner fossil fuels, solar power, and fuel cell technologies.

...Mindful that China relies on coal for more than two-thirds of its electricity, Li expects the DNL to focus much of its resources on clean fossil-fuel technologies, at least initially. This plays to the strengths of the DICP, which has developed methanol-to-olefins conversion processes that help to reduce waste in the industrial processing of coal. In cooperation with the Shenhua Group, China’s largest coal supplier, the DICP last year opened a factory using its technology.

...The DNL’s research into renewable energy sources will be more modest, however. ”We are a latecomer in terms of solar-power research,“ says Li, who hopes that the lab will be able to leapfrog into more cutting-edge areas of renewable-energy research, such as artificial photosynthesis.

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