Washington State Finalizes Strategic Agreement with Chinese Group on Carbon-reduction Technologies

Commerce Director Bonlender and Chinese Academy of Sciences Holdings, Co. Chairman Wu Lebin sign MOU to advance clean technology and low-carbon energy development, including gas-to-methanol projects.

Washington State Department of Commerce Director Brian Bonlender today joined Professor Wu Lebin, Chairman of Chinese Academy of Sciences Holdings Co., to complete a memorandum of understanding pledging cooperation on project and investment opportunities in the development of clean and low-carbon energy technologies. The signing was held today in Washington, DC, coinciding with the final day of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue held each year between the United States and Chinese national governments.

Potential projects on which the partners will collaborate include two gas-to-methanol plants proposed by NW Innovation Works, at the Ports of Kalama and Tacoma, each involving an estimated investment of around$1 billion. The Chinese Academy of Sciences is a key partner in the development of these facilities, in which natural gas would be converted to methanol and exported to Asia for use in the production of olefin, found in consumer goods such as plastic containers, cell phones and carpet fibers. The cleaner-burning methanol would reduce reliance on coal and petroleum products in that process, and reduce carbon pollution.

“I’m honored to join Chairman Lebin today in furthering this important relationship for Washington State,” said Brian Bonlender, director of the Washington State Department of Commerce. ”Governor Inslee is committed to our state being a leader in shaping the low-carbon future while creating jobs here in Washington State. Today we are seeing how the Governor's vision is attracting job-creating projects."

Commerce leaders met with the Chinese company in 2013 during a state trade mission to China, and signed an initial MOU in February, in Seattle, at an event overseen by Governor Jay Inslee.

Today’s signing is viewed by Commerce, CASH officials and proponents of the proposed gas-to-methanol facilities in Washington State, as consistent with and in part inspired by the historic U.S.-China agreement on energy and climate change, announced by Presidents Obama and Xi in November 2014, Bonlender said.