CENTRO CHINA BRASIL Mudanças climaticas e Tecnologias Inovadoras para Energia

The China-Brazil Center: wind power and biodiesel are to be the main areas of cooperation

Wind power and biodiesel are the main areas of cooperation between Coppe and the University of Tsinghua in Beijing, the partners of the China-Brazil Center for Climate Change and Innovative Technology for Energy. At a seminar held at Coppe on July 27th and 28th, representatives of the two institutions announced two important projects along these lines. The first is to set up a production unit for wind power generators taking into account the prevailing winds in Brazil, and the second is to install in Coppe a biodiesel plant that uses enzymes. The seminar brought together specialists and government representatives from the two countries to discuss opportunities of cooperation in renewable energy.

The Chinese energy matrix is predominantly coal (77.3%) but China is now  investing in renewable energy in order to diversify.  The country has the largest capacity of installed wind power in the world (42 GW), and it is estimated that by 2020 this capacity will reach 200 GW.

In the search for renewable sources, the China-Brazil Center is working on a project that will use enzymes for the production of biodiesel.  The technology will be tested in a pilot plant, installed in the International Virtual Institute of Global Change (IVIG) in Coppe, in Rio de Janeiro. The researchers will assess the costs of producing biodiesel using this technology taking into account the Brazilian reality and the country’s advantages, as well as the best usage of the oil and its residuals.  As part of the project two researchers from Coppe, Luiz Guilherme Marques and Rejane Rocha, will be in Beijing for 60 days to develop viability studies.

Business and Technical Cooperation

According to Segen Estefen, the director of Technology and Innovation at Coppe, Brazil could share the patent rights of some technological developments with the Chinese. “We aim to contribute to the advancement of these technologies, making them more efficient for Brazil”, explained Segen. As part of this partnership, Coppe will soon sign an agreement with a large Chinese manufacturer of wind power generators.

He Jiankun advocates the inclusion of companies for the joint development of technological innovations.

One of the directors of the China-Brazil Center, professor He Jiankun, from the University of Tsinghua, advocates the inclusion of companies of both countries for the joint development of technological innovations. “China and Brazil are complementary and they are making efforts for sustainable development and the use of renewable energy sources capable of sustaining growth.  For this we need a strong technological platform”, he said.

The assistant director of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, Sun Chengyong, cited the partnership agreement of 1988 between the two countries in the spatial field as a model to follow.  “We have had many years of technical cooperation; we could strengthen and up-date our ways of collaboration, by stimulating companies and qualifying our professionals, with technological development as a pillar”.

Pinguelli Rosa intends to discuss actions of the China-Brazil Center with the IPCC.

Luiz Pinguelli Rosa, the director of Coppe proposed joint activities with different industries to face climate change. “The poorer inhabitants of both countries should be taken into account on confronting climate change since they are the ones that suffer the most from the effects of climate change. We intend to discuss, with the IPCC, actions of the China-Brazil Center to mitigate these effects”, he said.  The director of Coppe also revealed that members of the China-Brazil Center plan to widen their activities in countries of the BASIC Group, which, besides Brazil and China includes South Africa and India.

Renewable energy sources in Brazil and in China

Tolmasquim believes that Brazil can grow without changing its energy matrix.

Dr. Maurício Tolmasquim, the president of the Energy Planning Company (EPE), believes that Brazil can grow without changing its energy matrix.  “Brazil uses only 1/3 of its hydroelectric potential.  Of the 2/3 to be exploited, 60% is in the Amazon.  However this potential can be harnessed, while at the same time protecting the forest. But there will have to be some give and take on both sides, including giving up some of the hydroelectric potential to preserve the environment”, he said. According to Tolmasquim Brazil can also increase the production of ethanol without extending the agricultural frontiers. “Today we use 1/3 of the sugarcane bagasse to generate electricity and we hope also to use 1/3 of the straw for the production of energy”.

To grow economically in a sustainable manner is also the only way according to professor Suzana Kahn Ribeiro of Coppe and Secretary of Green Economy for the State of Rio de Janeiro. “For the emerging countries, Brazil especially, this is the only way of maintaining growth levels.  Developing in an uncontrolled manner is to ‘kill the goose that lays the golden eggs’. However we have a long road in front of us”.

The Assistant Director of the Chinese National Commission for Consultation in Energy, Professor Zhou Dadi, gave an overview of the renewable energy sources in his country. Zhou Dadi is also a researcher at the Energy Research Institute of China that advises the Chinese government on matters in the energy industry. Because China is the largest exporter of manufactured products in the world, its capacity of installed energy is growing 91GW per year.  As pointed out by Luiz Pinguelli Rosa, the director of Coppe, the Chinese energy industry is growing “almost a Brazil” per year.

Zhou Dadi advises the Chinese government on matters in the energy industry.

“China has a very high growth rate and energy coming from renewable sources still only accounts for a small part of the energy matrix.  As the largest producer of manufactured goods in the world we require a large quantity of raw materials and energy. China is responsible for 47% of the world’s steel production (568 million tons). We produced 548 million mobile phones, 50% of the world production and we manufactured 18 million cars last year.  We have 220 million cars circulating in the country.  All this means a very high energy consumption”.

China is moving ahead in the technological development and production of equipment for wind power and solar energy.  The country is the largest producer of equipment for solar energy in the world and has the largest installed capacity of wind power.  “Between 2006 and 2009, China doubled year after year its wind power capacity increasing 17.5 GW in this period”. The nuclear field also forecasts increasing rates of growth.  “By 2020 the nuclear industry will have grown from 60 to 70 GW.  The accident in Japan has had an impact in China but we have not stopped our investments.  We will reinforce the safety measures”.

According to Zhou Dadi, the achievement of a cleaner energy matrix will demand new strategic technologies.  “By 2020, we hope that the renewable energy sources will occupy 15% of our matrix, but there are still many challenges, mainly costs. There are many improvements that still need to be made”.

Climate Convention

According to Ambassador Figueiredo compulsory goals will have to be set.

At the July seminar event the position of Brazil and China in the United Nations Conference for Sustainable Development that will be take place in June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro was discussed, as well as the participation of both countries in the UNO Conference on Climate Change (COP 17), that will take place in Durban, South Africa in December this year.  According to Ambassador Luiz Figueiredo Machado, head of the Environmental Department of the Ministry of Foreign Relations (MRE), new terms for the Kyoto Protocol that expires in 2012 must be discussed. “To hold temperature increases in check compulsory goals will have to be set. A system in which each one does what he wants and when he wants is just not possible”.  Professor Liu Bin of the Institute of New Technologies in Energy at the University of Tsinghua agrees with him.  “The success of the meeting in Durban will depend on the results of negotiations for the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol.”