Ethical Corporation joins the China environment chatter with a new series on the country’s energy problems, the first of which takes a long look at that hulking black devil: coal. The article’s author, Tom Miller, argues coal isn’t going anywhere despite its contributions to climate change, but there may be hope for using it in less destructive ways:
China is a carbon junkie. It is by far the world’s largest producer of coal, accounting for 45% of global output, and is coal’s greediest consumer…The challenge is to use that coal more cleanly. The government’s science and technology strategy document for the period 2006-2020 emphasises the importance of investing in efficient coal power stations and “clean coal” technology.
One recently completed “supercritical” coal-fired plant in Shanghai shows the way forward. Phase two of the Waigaoqiao plant, which has two 900MW generating units and uses turbines made by Siemens, is one of the most advanced coal-fired plants operating in China. [Full Text]
The article says China Huaneng Group, the country’s largest electricity producer, is busy constructing an “ultra-supercritical” coal plant that could be up to 50% more efficient than conventional plants. Ironically, Huaneng was among the companies recently denied permission to build new plants by the State Environmental Protection Administration on account of its poor environmental record.