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Canada: CBU, Chinese school aim to work closely on energy

Cape Breton University

Cape Breton University is working to form closer ties with Chinese researchers in developing new methods to extract biofuels and maximize the potential benefits of renewable energy in both countries.

During a trip to Beijing and Zhengzhou earlier this month, university president John Harker spoke at a ceremony celebrating Henan Agricultural University’s centenary and he used the opportunity to talk about the strong bond between the two universities.

“I’m always looking for ways of promoting our own research agenda and our ability to work with others who have similar agendas,” he said.

He indicated the university wants the partnership to be one of “future collaboration” on ways of expanding uses for biofuels. One of Henan Agricultural University’s scientists will arrive next year at Cape Breton’s Verschuren Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment to share his research in renewable energy.

And just last month the university awarded its first Needham Fellowship to a Chinese professor working at Heilongjiang Institute of Science and Technology. Kang Wenze, whose background is in mining and technology research, will spend several weeks working at the Verschuren Centre.

Researchers at the Verschuren Centre cover areas related to clean-carbon energy, mine water management, renewable energy and environmental sustainable development.

At Cape Breton University, scientists are growing willow plants to determine its usefulness as fuel stock, Harker said. The combined efforts of Henan and Cape Breton universities could prove very beneficial for both, he added.

“The Chinese are doing, with respect to other plants, much the same. Together we might be able to hit on a form of willow that is even better, faster, gives more British Thermal Units. Who knows?”

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