3M Co. will participate in a clean-energy research partnership with China as part of a dual-nation approach to developing greener methods of heating and cooling buildings, company officials said Tuesday.
3M will work with other American and Chinese scientists and engineers as part of the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center’s 14-member Building Energy Efficiency Consortium.
The 3M partnership, which is expected to last two to five years, could result in new technologies, new construction materials, strategies and tools that reduce energy consumption, costs and global warming.
The consortium is expected to work on an unknown number of “demonstration buildings” in China that incorporate 3M technologies and study their effects in different environments, company officials said.
Connie Thompson, spokeswoman for Maplewood-based 3M, said the effort began as a way to cut fuel consumption by two of the heaviest user nations on the globe.
The Clean Energy Research Centers, or CERC, was created in 2009 by President Obama and China’s then-President Hu Jintao with $150 million contributed by both nations. Over the years, the consortium has grown to include Dow Chemical; SAGE Electrochomics in Faribault, Minn.; Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee; the San Francisco-based Energy Foundation; ClimateMaster in Oklahoma; Bentley Systems Inc. in Pennsylvania; and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, among others.
The consortium is led by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
3M officials said they were happy to be chosen to join.
“3M’s participation in the consortium will not only help us drive the growing market for large-scale energy efficiency and sustainability projects ... but will give all members the opportunity to learn first-hand about the energy efficiency needs of the Chinese market,” said Stefan Babirad, technical director for 3M Industrial Adhesives and Tapes.
Ashish Khandpur, a 3M vice president of research and development, said the joint initiative could improve energy efficiency “in both the United States and China” and “make a global impact.”
3M manufactures specialty solar cells, protective coatings for windmill blades, air filters, and vapor barriers that wrap around and insulate buildings. It also makes specialty films for windows that enhance or reduce the effects of the sun, depending on the season.
3M’s Thompson said Tuesday that it is not known which projects 3M may work on in China or how much of the federal funding might be allocated to those projects. More details will become available in the coming months.