Expanding Opportunities for Deep Carbon Science in China

A suite of Deep Carbon Observatory activities and meetings in Shanghai and Beijing during March 2018 contributed to the ongoing advance of deep carbon science in China. As the DCO Science Network grows in China, the DCO is strengthening its ties with Chinese colleagues and identifying new opportunities for collaboration and research.

Deep Volatiles, Energy & Environments Summit

The Deep Volatiles, Energy & Environments Summit (DVEES 2018), sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE) and DCO, explored the topic of Earth’s deep volatiles from the diverse perspectives of DCO’s four science communities. The summit, which was held from 13-14 March 2018 at the Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility (SSRF) in Shanghai, China, attracted approximately 170 scientists from China and eight other nations. Center for High Pressure Science and Technology Advanced Research (HPSTAR) Director Ho-Kwang “Dave” Mao (also a Senior Staff Scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science, USA) developed and orchestrated DVEES 2018.

Volatile circulation drives many aspects of the Earth system affecting its energy, resources and environments. However, the high pressures and temperatures of the planet’s interior impact the physics and chemistry of deep volatiles—necessitating research on their behavior under extreme conditions in order to fully understand Earth. To address these issues, DVEES 2018 assembled current DCO scientists and dozens of Chinese colleagues new to DCO’s integrated approach. The meeting agenda included panel discussions, presentations by invited speakers, and poster presentations.

DVEES 2018 opened with welcome speeches by CAE Leader Kechang Xie and CAE Physics representative Hua Li, as well as scientific presentations by DCO Executive Director Robert Hazen (Carnegie Institution for Science, USA) and HPSTAR Director Dave Mao. The summit included overviews and sessions dedicated to DCO’s four science communities: Extreme Physics and Chemistry, Reservoirs and Fluxes, Deep Energy, and Deep Life. Speakers shared their deep carbon and volatiles-related research findings relevant to DCO’s science communities as well as to the major topics of computation, the deep lower mantle, and carbon and hydrogen under extreme pressure. Additional deep carbon science topics on the DVEES 2018 meeting agenda included discrimination of abiogenic and biogenic alkane gases, high-pressure investigations of marine microbial processes, crust-mantle carbon exchange in subduction zones, diamond forming processes and phase transitions, and the effects of major volatiles on mantle mineralogy.

“The Deep Volatiles Summit aligned the interests of China’s vast and diverse research community with DCO under the unifying themes of deep carbon and other deep volatiles. DCO’s collaborative, international structure provided a natural framework for collegial discussion of the exciting research being accomplished by China’s scientific community," said DCO Director Craig Schiffries (Carnegie Institution for Science, USA). “The DCO sincerely thanks Dave Mao for his leadership of the summit and for introducing so many new Chinese colleagues to DCO.”

DCO Executive Committee Meeting and Laboratory Tours

Following DVEES 2018, Mao hosted a DCO Executive Committee Meeting at HPSTAR’s Shanghai location and arranged laboratory tours of both SSRF and HPSTAR from 15-16 March 2018. The theme of this Executive Committee meeting was instrumentation and, accordingly, it focused on DCO’s decadal efforts to promote instrumentation to advance deep carbon science—including presentations and discussion of several of DCO’s instrument initiatives. DCO Executive Committee members also discussed routine business and a range of additional topics such as opportunities for international collaboration in China and DCO strategic planning. Claude Jaupart (IPGP, France) also provided an update and led discussion of Task Force 2020 guidance regarding the future of deep carbon science. DCO Director Craig Schiffries, with Jaupart, led a panel discussion of current and projected grant preparation activities to continue deep carbon science activities beyond 2019.

DCO Executive Committee members and guests at HPSTAR.

DCO Executive Committee members and guests had the opportunity to tour the Center for High Pressure Science & Technology Advanced Research (HPSTAR) and nearby laboratories. Dave Mao established the HPSTAR center in Shanghai in 2012 and later opened two additional locations in Changchun and Beijing. In addition to research funding, HPSTAR provides scientists with advanced laboratories and the instrumentation necessary to conduct research in various areas including high-pressure physics and chemistry, super-hard materials, Earth and planetary interiors, high-pressure photon science and high-pressure nano science. HPSTAR continues to grow and is projected to expand to 90 faculty and 600 staff members over the next decade.

The Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility (SSRF) located near HPSTAR, has 15 operational beamlines with plans for adding up to 16 new beamlines during the next five years. Since beginning operation in 2009, SSRF has served over 15,000 users focusing on topics including energy, materials, bioscience, and medicine. As of 2018, international scientists may apply for beamline time without a Chinese collaborator, although international collaboration continues to be highly encouraged. Interested scientists should visit the following link to apply for beamtime: http://ssrfwx.ssrf.ac.cn/proposals/en.

The DCO laboratory tour also included a visit to the Soft X-ray Free Electron Laser (SXFEL) which is situated next to the synchrotron. The SXFEL, which is expected to contain five experimental stations, is scheduled to open in 2019. Led by the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics (SINAP), the SXFEL—which will cost on the order of $150 million—could pave the way for a separate hard X-ray FEL facility, putting Shanghai at the forefront of X-ray science in China.

Deep Biosphere Initiatives in China

Following the events in Shanghai, a small assemblage of DCO scientists—including Hailiang Dong (Miami University, Ohio, USA), Tom Kieft (New Mexico Tech, USA), Maggie Lau (Princeton University, USA), Craig Schiffries (Carnegie Institution for Science, USA), and Fengping Wang (Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China)—participated in a workshop in Beijing to help develop plans for deep biosphere initiatives in China.

Further Reading

DCO Highlights Paris Meeting Addresses Past, Present, Future DCO

A joint meeting of DCO’s Executive Committee, Synthesis Group 2019, and Task Force 2020 presented a…

DCO Highlights DCO Science Network Expands in Japan

The Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO) Symposium in Yokohama brought together leaders of the four DCO…

DCO Highlights Meeting Report: DCO Executive Committee Meeting in Washington, DC, March 2016

The Deep Carbon Observatory Executive Committee met on 1-2 March 2016 to discuss overarching themes…

DCO Highlights Meeting Report: DCO Executive Committee Meeting and Field Trips in Italy, October 2015

More than 50 members of the Italian scientific community from over 25 institutions participated in…

Back to top