Moving towards a clean energy future in China: RD&D at NICE

Old Engineering A1 Theatre
Room 107
Engineering Block A
The University of Melbourne
Parkville VIC 3010


More Information

Caitlin McGrane

T: +61 3 9035 9458

China’s rapid economic growth over the past several decades has brought increased prosperity to hundreds of millions of people. Growth is powered by energy, which in China has been primarily coal-based.  Over the next decades, energy demand in China will continue to accelerate as both population and per capita energy intensity are expected to continue growing.

Coal will continue to be an important part of China’s energy mix into the foreseeable future.  A key challenge will be to reduce air pollution, improve water quality, and manage carbon footprint while also maintaining an energy system that is increasingly secure, reliable and affordable.  This presents a tremendous opportunity for innovation.

Shenhua Group is one of China’s largest energy companies, producing over 400 MM tons of coal each year and 83 GW of power generating capacity.  Under a business-as-usual trajectory, Shenhua operations would generate about 500 MM tons per year of CO2 equivalent by 2020. While its roots are in coal, the company is actively engaged in diversifying its operations to include increasingly clean technologies. For example, it is already one of the world’s largest wind power operators with 6 GW of installed capacity.  NICE is a RD&D division of Shenhua Group, established with the goal of accelerating this transition.

This presentation will also describe the research portfolio at NICE.  This will include their work on cleaner coal generation, catalysis, water treatment, hydrogen energy, solar PV, and distributed energy grid technologies.  The presentation will also feature a more detailed technical discussion on some of Shenhua's work towards reducing their carbon footprint.


Wayne Xu

Dr. Wayne Xu currently serves as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at the National Institute of Clean-and-low-carbon Energy (NICE). In this role, Dr. Xu shapes the company’s vision for science and technology and is responsible for a broad portfolio of research programs with an annual budget of $120 Million. He also serves on the board of directors for the NICE PV Research Ltd. and Chongqing Shenhua Thin Film Solar Technology Co., Ltd. At NICE, he has created a customer-focused culture that emphasizes innovation in support of a strategic vision to bring new clean energy technologies to the global market.

Before joining NICE, Dr. Xu held a variety of leadership and technical roles with multinational companies including Formica, Akzo Nobel, Shaw Industries, and Brady Corporation. His work on the synthesis, formulation, and processing of eco-friendly ultra-low VOC resins with superior translucency created a new generation of interior home decorative laminates and led to new, tighter VOC emissions standards for the industry.  His research has led to over 30 innovative products, many of which are on the best seller lists at Home Depot, Lowe’s and Menards.  Billions of pounds of resins based on Dr. Xu’s work have been produced.

Dr. Xu obtained his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley and an MBA from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. Among his many honors and awards, the most recent include: China Thousand Talents Program, Scientific Chinese ‘People of The Year Awards 2016’ and First Prize of Science and Technology Award in 2016 of the China Occupational Safety and Health Association. He is the Chemical Division Vice Chairman of China Thousand Talent Association; he also serves on the Expert Panel of the Chinese National Natural Science Foundation in the Department of Engineering and Materials Science. He is an advisor to the Simulation & Virtual Process Engineering Committee of the Chinese Chemical Industry and Engineering Society, and a member of the Expert Panel of China Coating Association.

Anthony Ku

Dr. Anthony Ku is the Director of Advanced Technologies at the National Institute of Clean and low-carbon Energy (NICE), a research division of Shenhua Group.  In this role, he is responsible for RD&D addressing Shenhua’s strategic challenges related to carbon management and air pollution, operational efficiency, and long-term sustainability.  He is currently developing partnerships to accelerate the commercialization of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technologies in China and building a team to apply data science to reduce emissions from power generation.

Prior to joining Shenhua, Dr. Ku was a Senior Engineer at GE Global Research where he led advanced materials development projects in support of GE’s Water, Energy, Aviation, and Healthcare businesses, and coordinated GE’s corporate-level assessments to identify and address supply chain exposure to critical materials.  He is also a founding editor of Sustainable Materials and Technologies, a technical journal focused on reducing the knowledge gap between materials development and system-level engineering design. Dr. Ku holds a Ph.D. degree in chemical engineering from Princeton University and M.S. and B.S. degrees in chemical engineering practice from MIT.

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