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National Research Center for Coal & Energy
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2004 NRCCE News Archives

WVU Instrumental in US-China Joint Venture

19 October 2004: Morgantown, W.Va. - With 1.3 billion people, China can be a huge new market for the U.S. energy industry. Given the country's large coal reserves, Chinese energy experts predict that nearly 85% of the growing energy needs will be met by coal-based technologies within the next decade. "With China's acceptance into the World Trade Organization three years ago, opportunities abound for the U.S. energy industry," said Bruce Blakeman of the Department of Commerce at the 3 rd US-China Clean Energy Workshop, held October 18-19 at the West Virginia University National Research Center for Coal and Energy.

As the Special Counsel to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Blakeman represents the Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans and International Trade Administration Under Secretary Grant Aldonas in China on economic and trade affairs. His areas of responsibility are to monitor China WTO ascension, assess Chinese market access policy development, and develop strategies for U.S. company export promotion to China.

"The Chinese are very interested in adopting clean, efficient technologies for coal," said Judd Swift, the Department of Energy's deputy assistant secretary for international affairs in the Office of Fossil Energy.

DOE currently is implementing President's Bush's $2 billion, 10-year initiative to develop an improved generation of coal-based electric power and pollution control technologies that will be environmentally superior to the technologies used in today's power plants throughout the world.

"The U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Commerce offer a number of programs to help U.S. industry do business in China," he said.

One of the earliest energy-related joint ventures is Asian American Coal, Inc. (AACI). Formed in 1994, the venture includes Evan Energy Co., Marshall Miller & Associates, Resource Capital Fund L.P., Peter Flour, Morgan Massey, and Phillips Machine LLC.

AACI President Steve Zou, who earned his Ph.D. at West Virginia University, used his contacts in the university's department of geology and geography to find the right partners for the venture. "Dr. Alan Donaldson introduced me to one of his former students, Marshall Miller, who is president of Marshall Miller and Associates of Bluefield, Va. Marshall brought in Morgan Massey, former president of Massey Coal. Mr. Massey contacted Peter Flour and we were able to put together the capital and expertise to create this company," Zou explained.

Phillips Machine of Beckley, W.Va. will sell nearly $2 million mining equipment for the mine in the Shanxi Province in China. When the mine reaches full production next year, it will produce more than five million tons of coal per year.

"Our goal is to use the safest, most efficient mining techniques found here in the U.S. in our operations in China," said Scott Keim, of Marshall Miller & Associates.

Safety is recognized by the Chinese as a major problem in the mining industry. "In China, the government has established the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety Supervision," said Yuhong Hu, deputy director general for the National Center for International Exchange and Cooperation of the China National Coal Association. "Coal mines can be inspected directly by the government where in other industries in China, the government only supervises safety inspections," Hu explained.

"The government can levy very strict punishment for violators, including closing a mine," she said. The government is taking steps to better educate workers and mine owners about safe mining practices, she added.


WVU NRCCE Hosts US-China Workshop Return to top

19 October 2004: Morgantown, W.Va. - If those attending this week's 3 rd US-China Clean Energy Workshop had their way, the growing Chinese demand for energy will not necessarily lead to increases in air pollution. "We are happy that WVU's National Research Center for Coal and Energy agreed to host this workshop," said Judd Swift, the Department of Energy's deputy assistant secretary for international affairs in the Office of Fossil Energy.

3rd US China Clean Energy Workshop

Marshall Miller, president of Marshall Miller & Associates (left), Scott Keim (right) and Asian American Coal Inc. President Stephen (Xindong) Zou (center) discuss AACI, their US-China joint business venture. Miller and Zou, both West Virginia University alums, met through their contacts in the WVU department of geology and geography. Keim spoke about AACI at the 3rd US China Clean Energy Workshop held at the WVU National Research Center for Coal and Energy on October 18-19. Keim said the company expects to mine five million tons of coal per year and will be purchasing up to $2 million worth of equipment from West Virginia-based Phillips Machine, another partner in the venture.

DOE currently is implementing President's Bush's $2 billion, 10-year clean coal power initiative to develop an improved generation of coal-based electric power and pollution control technologies that will be environmentally superior to the technologies used in today's power plants throughout the world.

Because of environmental problems such as poor air quality in cities like Beijing, Chinese government and industry officials are anxious to develop U.S. joint-ventures to promote state-of-the-art clean coal technologies.

"China is implementing NOx requirements as stringent or more stringent than in the U.S.," said Guangwei Huang, executive director of H&J, Inc. "We need to find solutions," he said.

The Chinese have been quick to recognize the power of marketing to develop a network of air monitoring stations in Beijing. Huang proposed using the stations as large, rotating billboards for advertisers like Coca Cola and China Telecom. The idea has taken off. So far H&J has built five ambient air quality monitoring stations in congested areas in Beijing, he said. The data will provide information to decision makers in developing air pollution controls, he said.

"There is a great need for innovative, efficient, environmentally friendly approaches to coal. WVU has had a long association with the Chinese people who send their best and brightest young people to the university to learn our technologies," said Richard A. Bajura, NRCCE director and workshop host.

"We are happy to be able to expand our role to include promoting U.S. business through workshops like this and through research programs like the one we are now developing in Shenhua Group in Inter Mongolia," he said. WVU will be examining the economic and environmental impacts of a coal-to-liquid transportation fuels plant being built in the province.

Universities are a great way to exchange technologies and training, said Yanjia Wang, director of the Energy and Environmental Technology Center at Tsinghua University. "Universities also offer independent assessments of technologies for finding the right ones for the region," she said. "And universities help bridge the language problems," she added in clear English.

"We look forward to more collaborations like these," said WVU President David C. Hardesty, Jr.