MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Brazil’s Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (PUC) to pursue collaborative work that will advance the technical, environmental, and cost performance of fossil energy technologies with a focus on carbon capture and storage.
Initial activities planned under the MOU will focus on short-term exchange of researchers between the Brazilian university’s Center for Excellence on Carbon Storage Research (CEPAC) and NETL’s Office of Research and Development, emphasizing joint research and development in carbon capture and storage technologies. Areas of cooperation covered in the MOU include—
- Development of clean technologies for the use of fossil fuels.
- Development and assessment of sequestration options for carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases.
- Development and assessment of technologies to recover coalbed methane and enhanced coalbed methane with CO2.
- Development and assessment of technologies for underground coal gasification and production of syngas from high-ash coals.
The forms of cooperation set forth in the MOU include an exchange of information, exchange of scientists, technical assistance in specific projects, and jointly funded activities in which NETL and PUC share the cost of performance.
Executed in both English and Portuguese, the MOU was signed by representatives from both countries on October 16, 2007. Signers for NETL were NETL Director Carl Bauer and the Director of NETL’s Office of Research and Development, Dr. Anthony Cugini. In Brazil, Dr. Joaquim Clotet, PUC’s President, and Dr. Jorge Alberto Vilwock, Director of PUC’s Institute for the Environment, signed the MOU as part of the opening ceremony held for CEPAC, a center partially funded by Petrobras, the giant Brazilian energy company. The lead coordinators for both countries also signed: Dr. J. Marcelo Ketzer, Director of CEPAC, and NETL’s Scott Smouse, International Coordination Team Leader.
Initial discussions between NETL and Brazil concerning the MOU took place in Pittsburgh in May 2007, during the first Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF) workshop on Capacity Building for Emerging Economies. This workshop took place in conjunction with the Sixth Annual Carbon Capture and Sequestration Conference, held in Pittsburgh, Pa. Brazil and the United States are founding signatory members of CSLF. The second CSLF Capacity Building for Emerging Economies workshop was organized by PUC and sponsored by Petrobras in Porto Alegre, Brazil, on October 18 and 19, 2007.
Brazil is the tenth largest energy consumer in the world and the third largest in the western hemisphere, standing behind only the United States and Canada. Energy consumption in Brazil has increased significantly in recent years and is projected to continue to increase in the coming years. However, the fossil-fuel power generation needed to help meet this need is a significant contributor of atmospheric CO2—which is believed to be a major contributor of global climate change. The development of technology for clean coal use and CO2 capture and storage, both for Brazil and for the United States, that is promoted in this MOU has considerable potential for alleviating anthropogenic carbon emissions.