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China, Brazil boost huge potential for cooperation in clean energy technology

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-05-06 13:33

BRASILIA — China and Brazil are showing great potential for technological cooperation in renewable energies such as solar, wind and hydropower, a Brazilian expert said Friday.

Both countries can contribute their latest technological progress in clean energy for win-win cooperation, Amaro Olimpio Pereira, an energy planning professor at the Engineering Postgraduate and Research Institute of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, told Xinhua.

Brazil and China have maintained a comprehensive strategic partnership marked by substantial trade and economic exchanges. The two nations are also members of the BRICS bloc that also groups the emerging economies of Russia, India and South Africa.

The current bilateral cooperation, including that in the research of China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite (CBERS), was a model of South-South cooperation and should be further boosted in the joint development of clean energies and smart systems, said Pereira.

Brazil has an edge in clean energy, he noted. "The fact that Brazil has abundant natural resources is a boon to the renewable energy sector. It has one of the world's top energy supply networks, including renewable energy sources."

The South American nation was also successful in promoting wind energy, and its solar energy industry also started to pick up steam, said the expert.

However, a big hurdle in developing these energies was that sunlight and wind can be intermittent, thus disrupting the energy supply.

To fix that problem, Pereira suggested developing new technologies in power electronics, which underlines the application of electronics in energy conversion and control.

"Developing power electronics is going to be fundamental for controlling that variability. When wind stops, another plant has to kick in to complement. So, that's where power electronics comes in (and) China has made significant progress in that area," said Pereira.

"That's where the opportunity for cooperation arises. Brazil could contribute ... its wind technology, and China, its power electronics equipment. There is a lot of synergy between the two countries," he noted.

Brazil could also share its technology of hydroelectric plant, which could be of interest to China, he added.

"Brazil has mastered the technology behind large-scale hydroelectric, as well as high-voltage and ultra-high-voltage transmission lines. These are things that interest China, considering its great hydroelectric potential and land mass," said Pereira.

He added that China, for its part, has been known for the advance in photovoltaic technology, which made the country much more competitive in the cost of solar panels than other nations.

"Brazil is beginning to see progress in smart grids," Pereira also said, referring to a smart meter that can help utility companies charge consumers' differentiated rates, depending on their level of consumption.

But the technological gaps have "delayed" the program, said Pereira. "China is a model in this field. These smart meters rely largely on telecommunications technology to monitor a home's consumption from a distance.".

Making conventional energy cleaner was yet another area ripe for bilateral cooperation, he said, adding Brazil has large coal reserves that have not been exploited or are exploited using obsolete technologies that led to heavy pollution.

In this field, the Chinese technology can help Brazilian coal-fired thermoelectric plants burn in a more efficient and clean manner, said Pereira.

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