3M is chosen for group targeting energy savings
The multinational US conglomerate 3M Co has been chosen as a partner for a consortium whose goal is to improve energy efficiency in both the US and China.
The consortium — called USChina Clean Energy Research Center Building Energy Efficiency (CERC-BEE) — selected the Minnesota-based 3M because it has “great potential to reduce energy consumption for both US and China,” Zhou Nan, director of CERC-BEE, told China Daily. Zhou also is a scientist and the deputy group leader of the China Energy Group of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
The initiative for the center was established by US President Barack Obama and former Chinese president Hu Jintao in 2009 to facilitate the joint research and development of clean energy technologies by teams of scientists and engineers from the US and China.
Since then, the two nations have brought universities, national laboratories and businesses together to identify key areas in clean energy research.
Having companies as part of her team is particular important for the program, Zhou said. “On the one hand, we want to develop a product that eventually could be used commercially. On the other hand, we really emphasize innovation since we are a research development program. We believe companies can be adding more value to research development,” she said.
CERC-BEE has eight industrial partners on the US side, including 3M. The program has a portfolio in six key areas, including building design and operation, building equipment and renewable energy utilization.
Zhou said she and her team are constantly looking for new partners to join the program, and that to do so they must meet certain criteria, including technical capabilities and the ability to contribute expertise to the project. Zhou said 3M met all the criteria.
One of the projects that CERC-BEE is focusing on is five demonstration buildings in different climate zones in China, at which 3M energy-efficiency technologies and locally sourced Chinese building components will be incorporated and studied.
“Leakage is a big problem for many Chinese buildings,” said Zhou. “3M has this unique product called air sewing that uses tape to sew around windows, gaps between walls. So we feel if such a product can be used in China, it can reduce the consumption of heating energy in building, especially in Northern China.”
3M, founded in 1902, is a diversified technology company that manufacturing a wide range of products, including electronic materials, medical products and industrial products.
It set up shop in China 30 years ago and over the years 3M China has become the US company’s largest operation overseas, with 11 manufacturing bases, 12 subsidiaries, 27 offices, one R&D center and four technical centers across the country.
“3M’s participation in the consortium will not only help us drive the growing market for large-scale energy efficiency and sustainability projects forward, but will give all members the opportunity to learn firsthand about the energy efficiency needs of the Chinese market,” Stefan Babirad, technical director for 3M Industrial Adhesives and Tapes Division, said in a press release. “This partnership will also allow us to gain invaluable customer feedback to help shape future innovations.”
“We are proud to join this initiative to study and improve energy efficiency in both the US and China,” said Ashish Khandpur, vice president of research and development for 3M’s Industrial Business Group. “We look forward to applying 3M innovations to solve challenges with our partners and lead the way for improvements that stand to make a global impact.”