Wednesday, 15 July 2009 09:31

China a forerunner in the development of cleaner coal technologies?

The growing energy demand and the high cost of alternatives means that worldwide coal use is rinsing. This has very worrying environmental implications, most importantly because of its contribution to climate change. Coal currently accounts for 70% of primary energy consumption in China.

 This scale of China’s expanding coal use has brought new urgency to the development of cleaner coal technologies.

As a result, the countries newest technologies range from equipment that reduce sulphur dioxide and dust emissions to more advanced technologies that have the ability to substantially reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Examples of the technologies being used in China include:

• Half of China’s coal-fired generation capacity is fitted with flue gas desulphrisation (FGD);
• The 4 000 MW Yuhuan power plant sets a new global benchmark for the efficiency of coal-fired power plants;
• One of the world’s first pilot demonstrations of CO2 capture from a coal-fired power plant is located on the outskirts of Beijing.

“China’s coal sector has made remarkable progress over the last decade, fuelling rapid economic growth and bringing a better quality of life for china’s citersens,” said Nobuo Tanaka, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA).  He went on to say that, “New technologies are needed worldwide and China’s role in developing them is critical.” Tanaka noted China’s progress, but said that there was still a lot of improvement that could be made. He said that these new technologies need to be used more effectively and more widely. He then called for more and better-trained people who are able to adapt technologies to local circumstances, build, operate and install new equipment and to staff the independent regulatory authorities that oversee the whole process.  Tanaka added that, “China’s existing environmental laws are well designed, but they need to be better implemented.”

Tanaka concluded that it is a worldwide problem that all nations need to face together. Commercial activity, official government-to-government co operation, R&D partnerships and professional relationships are all needed to make low-carbon energy a reality. Tanaka urged governments and corporations to accelerate their efforts in working with China and shaping a cleaner future for all.