US Duke Energy in cleantech MOU with China's Huaneng

HONG KONG, Aug 10 (Reuters) - U.S. power producer Duke Energy Corp DUK.N has agreed to work with China Huaneng Group [HUANP.UL], the country's largest electricity provider, to explore technologies for cleaner emissions by coal-fired power plants.

Duke Energy, the third-largest electric power company in the U.S., and China Huaneng said they had signed a memorandum of understanding that would allow for the exchange of information on measures to cut coal plant emissions and develop renewable sources of electricity.

One key focal point in the agreement will be information exchange on emerging cleaner-coal technologies, including carbon capture and goal gasification, the companies said in a joint statement.

The companies’ top executives would identify initiatives in which they could develop clean power technologies together over the long term, they said.

“Working together, the U.S. and China can commercialise and drive down the cost of these technologies for the benefit of the entire world,” Duke Energy chief executive Jim Rogers said.

The greenhouse gas emissions of the world’s top carbon emitters are driven by their huge appetites for fossil fuels. The United States consumes more oil and natural gas than any other country and is second only to China in coal consumption.

China relies on coal, the most carbon-intensive energy source for over two-thirds of its energy needs, including about 80 percent of its electricity generation.

Duke Energy has plans to spend $121 million to study a carbon capture technology that can trap underground up to 60 percent of carbon dioxide emitted by a power plant. The plan is on top of the $17 million it has already spent on carbon capture studies.

The parent of Huaneng Power International 0902.HKHNP.N600011.SS will launch its second pilot carbon capture project in Shanghai at the end of this year, but high costs are holding back further progress.

By 2050, capturing carbon dioxide before it is released into the atmosphere could provide 15 percent of the cuts required to stop global warming, the International Energy Agency estimated this year, but despite a number of pilot projects across the world, the technology is still far from mature. (Reporting by Leonora Walet; Editing by Chris Lewis)