Sino-Danish workshop opened for more research in non-polluting energy production

Tuesday 01 Nov 16


Ming Chen
Senior scientist
DTU Energy
+45 46 77 57 57

Bilateral Workshop

The Denmark-China Bilateral Workshop on Energy Conversion and Storage had participants from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), University of Science and Technology of China, Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics, South China University of Technology, Ningbo CNITECH Future Energy Tec co. ltd., Haldor Topsøe (DK) and Lithium Balance (DK).

DTU Energy hosted this year’s Denmark-China Bilateral Workshop on Energy Conversion and Storage and over the two-day workshop the participants from DTU, three Chinese technical universities/institutes and Chinese and Danish private Companies got closer to establishing joint projects in both countries.

The invited speakers at the recent Denmark-China Bilateral Workshop on Energy Conversion and Storage presented new results and overview talks on topics such as research in fuel cells and electrolysis cells in Europe compared to China, developments in fuel cell stack integrity and hybrid energy systems, status for battery energy storage systems and how to make it all part of systems and applications.

“It has been a really good workshop, where I learned a lot and had many good discussions. DTU has a long history with solid oxide fuel cells, combining impressive facilities with good expertise, but we also have a lot of expertise to share”, said professor Zi-Jin Lin from University of Science and Technology of China.

He found the workshop a good opportunity to pool the combined knowledge of the technical universities of Denmark and China and establish stronger collaboration ties, apply support in some joint projects and pass over expertise to each other in order to solve technical issues of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC).

"Workshops like this are very important for people like us with a commercial focus. It is not easy for us to see how far China is on energy conversion and storage, and now a number of high-profile Chinese come to Denmark and explains how they are doing"
Søren Primdahl, General Manager at Haldor Topsøe

Pooling expertise

The Danish workshop at DTU Energy follows a workshop in April 2016 in Kunshan, 50 km from Shanghai, with more than half of the Chinese research groups working in the area of solid oxide fuel cells and solid oxide electrolysis cells (SOEC) present.

Read the story about the upstart of the Sino-Danish Bilateral Forum here

“It is always difficult to gather all experts at the same place, but workshops like this allow us all to pool our expertise and advance the tech”, said professor Zi-Jin Lin, who prefers workshops to Skype and online-meetings. Skype and online research sharing have their uses, when collaboration has been established, but the personal meetings between researchers are still necessary in the buildup of professional ties.

“Three people can use Skype, but larger crowds need interaction and a more intimate feeling. It is a mental setting. Face to face meetings allow you to develop familiarity and improve personal relations, and this lead to better communication and better sharing of knowledge”, said professor Zi-Jin Lin.

This was one of many reasons for General Manager Søren Primdahl and Principal research engineer Peter Blennow at Haldor Topsøe to participate in the Bilateral Workshop. Haldor Topsøe has vast knowledge of electrolysis and fuel cells and is a world leader in catalysis with business interests in China.

Building blocks for the future

“Workshops like this are very important for people like us with a commercial focus. It is not easy for us to see how far China is on energy conversion and storage, and now a number of high-profile Chinese come to Denmark and explains how they are doing, where they are in front and how we as a private company can contribute to the Chinese market”, said Søren Primdahl.

“We may not be able to use it directly commercially at the moment, but a good workshop with good quality like this gives us good opportunities to form networks that we can use as building blocks for partnerships in the future, and it helps us to gain realistic understanding of the current Chinese situation on this field.”

Head of Department Søren Linderoth from DTU Energy agree with the Chinese professor and the Danish businessmen. Meeting face-to-face establishes good partnerships, and the Sino-Danish Bilateral Workshop was to him a prime example of how research sharing benefits both commercial and scientific interests.

“The Chinese have a need for these technologies to be able to make a non-polluting energy production, and we are in a good position to help each other. Both China and Denmark have very talented researchers, with Denmark in front at some areas and China ahead in others, and together we can make very good research,” said Søren Linderoth. He was pleased that private companies also were open for the opportunities.

“The Chinese researchers were high-profile and very talented, and we met in a good atmosphere with a good and open debate, so I am confident that our university is now better equipped to establish serious research relations like exchange of researchers and PhD's. And I noticed that Haldor Topsøe established good contacts and that Lithium Balance met with the Chinese company within batteries, Ningbo CNITECH Future Enegy Tec, so I am confident that the workshop opened for commercial cooperation in the future. It was a successful workshop that opened for new opportunities for everybody,” said Søren Linderoth.

Expanding co-operation

The Danish workshop at DTU Energy will be followed by workshops in China (2017) and in Denmark (2018), but the good results and good relationships between researchers have led to discussions on establishing an unofficial platform for exchanging information and opportunities’ regarding joint project proposals.

“We want to continue the events by promoting a joint Sino-Danish development of sustainable chemical energy conversion and storage solutions, facilitating an increased interaction between the stakeholders to improve the chances for a breakthrough on chemical energy conversion technologies by facilitating collaboration on fundamental research between key universities/research institutes in both countries”, explains senior researcher Ming Chen, organizer of the Denmark-China Bilateral Workshop at DTU Energy.