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China Daily / 2021-05 / 21 / Page012

Research begins to assist province's energy revolution

By YUAN SHENGGAO | China Daily | Updated: 2021-05-21 00:00

A research project on the clean and efficient use of coal was recently launched by the Shanxi Coal-Based Chemicals Research Institute in Taiyuan on April 20, marking a new step for the carbon peaking and neutrality initiative in the province.

Another project launched by the institute for coal-liquefaction technologies and industrial applications was included on the Ministry of Science and Technology's list of key research and development projects. It was eligible for funding of 60 million yuan ($9.34 million) from the ministry.

"These projects are expected to play an important role in Shanxi's energy revolution and its carbon-neutrality initiative," said Zhang Kejun, deputy chief of the Shanxi Department of Science and Technology.

Carbon peaking and neutrality is a new concept of sustainability in China. Central authorities have recently proposed new targets for carbon reduction-to realize a carbon peak in 2030 and carbon neutralization in 2060.

As one of the biggest energy resource developers in China, Shanxi has paid close attention to the carbon neutrality strategy.

Han Dong'e, head of the energy economy research institute of the Shanxi Academy of Social Sciences, said Shanxi should work harder than other provinces in China to reach its peak carbon output in 10 years.

"Although Shanxi is implementing an economic transformation to reduce its reliance on coal and diversify into multiple emerging sectors, its carbon dioxide emission is still among the largest in China," Han said."This is a serious challenge for Shanxi to reach its carbon-peaking target."

The researcher said Shanxi should address three problems to reach the goal-growing demands for energy, a high ratio of coal compared with other forms of energy and high energy consumption in industries.

"While the demand for energy keeps growing to meet Shanxi's rapid economic expansion, the province should shift its focus to new, clean energy resources while improving the efficiency of energy utilization," Han said.

Shanxi is urging coal-consuming enterprises to adopt new technologies for the efficient and clean use of coal. It also calls for the diversified use of coal-from fuel to producing chemicals and other industrial ingredients.

The project for the research on clean and efficient use of coal, for instance, will focus on producing coal-based chemicals. This includes kerosene and lubricant oil using the latest coal-liquefaction technologies.

Taiyuan University of Technology, a renowned local establishment, has formed a team devoted to the research on technologies to improve the combustion efficiency of coal.

Its most recent move is a project developed in cooperation with local electricity company Xipo Power Generation.

"Improving coal combustion efficiency is crucial to lowering emissions of carbon dioxide and other polluting gases," said Jiang Ping, an engineer in charge of the project."Our project aims to help hundreds of coal-fired power plants in Shanxi improve their economic and environmental benefits."

Han of the Shanxi Academy of Social Sciences said a radical transformation of Shanxi's energy industry is required to reach the carbon-neutrality target.

"We should get rid of our reliance on fossil fuels including coal and petroleum and increase investment in clean energy like solar and wind power," Han said. "The transformation is feasible as Shanxi is rich in solar- and wind-power resources."

Li Shu contributed to this story.


Researchers at an institution in Taiyuan show a piece of composite material developed from coal. LIU TONG/FOR CHINA DAILY



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