The three subthemes
Danish and Chinese governments and research environments have worked together on energy policies and technologies for decades and a portfolio of energy agreements have been signed within renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy conservation and technology development. The Sustainable Energy research theme and subthemes are chosen on the basis of positions of strength and common interests. The research theme focuses on the following three sub themes, acknowledging that no single technology can ever do the trick all by itself – no matter how innovative and effective it is:
1) Biomass and waste for heat and power production, industry processes and bio-refinery - deals with characterisation, pre-treatment and transformation of feedstock to heat, power and clean fuels as well as thermal biomass conversion.
2) Systems integration, technologies and markets - deals with integration of renewable energy into the energy system, renewable energy technologies (wind and solar) and energy systems analysis, modelling and energy markets.
3) Fusion and fusion materials - deals with harnessing the large scale sustainable energy potential that lies within fusion reactions.
Positions of strength
Denmark has grown to become a global leader in the development of new sustainable technologies and solutions and as the first country in the world, Denmark has decided to become entirely independent of fossil fuels by 2050. Danish industry and research communities are well known for advances within renewable energy and energy efficiency. This accumulates to an amassed knowledge that is very attractive and valuable to build on.
China has experienced a staggering industrial and economic development, turning the country into the biggest energy consumer and CO2 emitter in the world. This has made China a key player in combatting climate change and local pollution without jeopardizing the economic growth. China gives high priority to science and technology and has invested heavily in people and research infrastructure related to new energy technologies.
Researching within the framework
The programme has provided a stepping stone for establishing and strengthening research cooperation between the partners.
The main research activities are grouped in:
Executive seminars for researchers and practitioners
SDC PhD scholarships remains an important focus for cooperation. This includes joint supervision of PhD students and minimum 6-12 months of research stay at the cooperating institution in China or Denmark. Emphasis is on assuring a good balance between Danish and Chinese PhD scholarships to the mutual benefit of both countries’ research environments. When possible SDC PhD students contribute to the Chemical and Biochemical Master’s programme. Besides that, they contribute greatly to shortening distance between Denmark and China through creating valuable professional and personal relations they can draw on throughout their careers.
Research summer/autumn schools
Since the beginning, research schools have been conducted to the benefit of PhD students and researchers at Danish and Chinese SDC affiliates as well as other academic partners from China and abroad. It provides a forum for exchanging state of the art knowledge in the specific research area and also allows for master students to be included. The Sino-Danish Autumn School on Fusion Plasma Physics and Technology is one of the schools that has become highly valued by the international fusion research community.
Chinese and Danish researchers within the sustainable energy theme give priority to shorter or longer research stays at partner research institutes. Such stays give excellent opportunities for doing laboratory work, data collection related to the respective energy system, developing common research projects and writing papers, often together as co-publications.
The Practitioner-researchers seminars gather key actors of the Chinese and Danish energy sectors to exchange state of the art knowledge on selected themes of relevance to the development of a sustainable, secure and affordable energy sector. The seminars are held at SDC in Beijing. The first seminar focused on integration of wind energy in the energy systems and the following on the integration of district heating in the energy system.