Green Efforts: China coal industry cuts emissions

2009-12-05 09:35 BJT

Special Report: UN climate change conference in Copenhagen |


With a target of a 40 to 45 percent decrease in carbon dioxide emissions, China is making good on its commitments. Industries are key players in emissions reduction, particularly the coal industry. Our reporter Wang Mangmang finds out how things are changing in the country's mining center, Shanxi.

A fast growing economy with increasing energy needs.

But the environment is paying the price.

China depends on coal for more than seventy percent of its energy.

Xie Kechang, Vice Chairman of China Assoc. for Science & Technology, said, "So what do we do? We must utilize coal in a cleaner and more efficient way. This includes various technologies, from its exploitation, which is the source, to its processing, and eventually to its market use."

Methane from coal mines is one of the world's biggest sources of greenhouse gases. Its effect on global warming is about twenty-one times more powerful than carbon dioxide. But once recovered, it can produce clean energy for homes and businesses.

The northern province of Shanxi is the center of the country's coal mine industry. The Jincheng Anthracite Mining Group started exploring methane capture and use in 1995. Four years ago, it became a pilot project with an investment of two point two billion yuan.

The state-run company now has some seventeen hundred pumps across the province. From here, the gas is distributed to forty thousand households, as well as industrial users.

Wang Yuhong, Deputy Manager of Lanyan Coal Mine Methane Company, said, "Coal mine methane used to be released into the atmosphere during the underground mining procedure. It could cause gas explosions and severe air pollution. Now we combine underground and ground exploitation, utilizing the gas as we excavate coal. We can effectively reduce methane content in the mine to almost zero."

Retrieving the gas reduces emissions from the start. And the industry is working to bring them down further.