China Energy to expand ultra-low emission coal-fired power: executive

From Reuters

SANHE, China (Reuters) – China Energy Group, the country’s biggest power generator, will add more than 6 gigawatts (GW) of new ultra-low emission coal-fired capacity this year as it bids to meet growing electricity demand, a senior official with the firm said on Thursday.

The company also expected to build another 5 GW of low-emission capacity next year, Xiao Jianying, the head of the state-run firm’s coal-fired power department, told Reuters.

“China still has quite a big demand for electricity. The government now supports regions with poor wind and solar resources to use coal-fired power … it’s a more practical measure, as gas is still too expensive,” said Xiao.

China Energy operated coal-fired plants with a total capacity of 175 GW at the end of 2018, 77.4% of its total capacity and about 10% of the entire country’s capacity.

Xiao said the company would gradually shut down small and polluting coal-fired power units and replace them with efficient ones, noting that total capacity would continue to increase but at a slower rate of growth.

The firm is also planning to launch another carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in northwest China next year as part of its efforts to reduce the environmental impact of using coal, company officials said. It already runs a CCS plant at its coal-to-oil facility in Erdos in Inner Mongolia.

China, the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter, has vowed to control new coal production and new coal-fired power capacity as part of its commitments to curb pollution and tackle global warming. However, it has shown signs of relaxing restrictions in recent months amid an economic slowdown.

The National Energy Administration said last month it would encourage regions to choose the most accessible form of energy to guarantee heating during winter. It also offered support for cities to build centralized “clean coal” heating systems.

This was a big shift from two winters ago when authorities forced millions of northern households to convert from coal to natural gas or electricity in a bid to curb smog.

China aims to bring greenhouse gas emissions to a peak by “around 2030” and raise the share of non-fossil fuels in its total energy mix to 20% by the end of the next decade, up from 15% in 2020. Those targets could be strengthened next year.

But it has been under fire for allowing large numbers of new coal-fired power plants. An academic study published in March said China restarted construction on more than 50 GW of suspended coal power plants last year.

Full article here.

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Tom Halla
July 23, 2019 10:15 am

The Chinese will not blow up their economy for virtue signalling. Putting scrubbers on coal fired plants would deal with the worst of the smog, and I really doubt they would actually run a CCS system, unless it was a prototype intended for an export model.

Reply to  Tom Halla
July 23, 2019 11:49 am

Absolutely on the button.

Reply to  Leo Smith
July 23, 2019 2:43 pm


Reply to  Tom Halla
July 23, 2019 10:53 pm

I thought the CCS plant was being used to put CO2 into fizzy drinks. Doubtless this entitles them to tons of western money from Green Slush Fund and “carbon credits”.

China uses ultra-low emissions technology at about 80% of its total coal-fired capacity. The technology cuts smog particles down to a minimum, but does little to curb climate-warming carbon emissions.

The Chinese are far from stupid and quite clearly tackling a REAL pollution problem they have from old coal stations and are not confounding this CO2 emissions.

China, the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter, has vowed to control new coal production and new coal-fired power capacity as part of its commitments to curb pollution and tackle global warming.

No, China has not undertaken any “vows”. Pretending they have will not make them adhere to your wishes and propaganda.

Tom Abbott
July 23, 2019 11:14 am

It looks like China has been hearing the complaints about its unfettered coal burning so now they are going to build “new ultra-low emission coal-fired capacity” and they want to do solar and wind but can’t do it in places not suitable so they have to use coal because natural gas is too expensive.

What’s the report about all the coal-fired powerplants China is building in numerous other nations? Are those plants goint to be “new ultra-low emission coal-fired capacity”?

Btw, how do we get ultra-low emission coal-fired capacity? What does that entail? What do they mean by “ultra-low”?

Bryan A
Reply to  Tom Abbott
July 23, 2019 12:30 pm

You just burn Low Carbon Coal 😉

I would have thought that, being a Communist Nation, the cost of everything produced within their national borders would be FREE. They have Coal and Gas Fields that cover around 25-30% of their nation?

Greg in Houston
Reply to  Bryan A
July 23, 2019 1:23 pm

There is a huge cost for gas processing and pipeline transportation. Plus they probably don’t have any gas storage.

Reply to  Bryan A
July 23, 2019 11:00 pm

don’t be fooled by the name, China is now a capitalist dictatorship and they will take over the world. We have Nixon and Kissinger to thank for that. They should have left them in their self-imposed political isolation bubble. Sadly, it’s too late to put that genie back in the bottle now.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Greg
July 23, 2019 11:16 pm

Greg, China is a mercantilist, economic command and control dictatorship; it is not capitalist in any sense of the word. Until President Trump came on the scene, the Chinese were ripping off the rest of the world with mercantilist, beggar-thy-neighbor economic tactics, with America as the biggest victim.

Neither Nixon nor Kissinger had anything to do with successive American administrations’ feckless dealings with China.

GREG in Houston
Reply to  Tom Abbott
July 23, 2019 1:25 pm

I think “ultra-low emission” is when you just say it’s “ultra-low emission.” Just like over here when they tell us wind is “viable.”

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  GREG in Houston
July 23, 2019 6:13 pm

Rather than speculate and circulate your uninformed guesses here, why don,t you read up on how advances in coal combustion, such as fuel/ oxidant ratio, temperature and so on, to see that there is actual engineering meaning in those words “ultra-low emission”.
This blog site WUWT works best on data rather then guesswork, don’t you think?? Geoff S

Greg in Houston
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
July 23, 2019 7:44 pm

Was just in a flippant mood – but you’re right, and that’s what I usually try to do. On another note, let’s not take ourselves too seriously.

Mike macray
Reply to  Greg in Houston
July 24, 2019 12:11 pm

Perhaps they are using organic coal to do their bit..??!

Michael Keal
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
July 25, 2019 10:27 am

Greg what you say is true but misses an important point. The words “ultra-low emission” are there to perpetuate the myth that carbon dioxide is a pollutant, a problem that needs to be solved.
Actual engineering that improved thermal efficiency and lowered the cost of the electricity generated should of course be commended and promoted on it’s actual benefits. Depriving poor old Gia of much-needed plant food is not a benefit in fact it is the antithesis of a benefit.

Greg in Houston
Reply to  Michael Keal
July 25, 2019 5:36 pm

I think you meant this for Geoff?

Reply to  Tom Abbott
July 24, 2019 9:42 am

“New ultra-low emission coal-fired capacity” appears to be a play on the term “ultra-supercritical” which are plants that produce steam at the highest pressures, maximizing efficiency. That being said, their heat rates are maybe 10-15% lower than a regular subcritical plant, which I am not sure qualifies it as “ultra-low.” The Chinese are building a lot of the ultra supercritical plants. And if you shut down older, less efficient plants then less CO2 per MW is generated. But if your electrical load keeps rising, your total CO2 will rise as well, no matter how efficient the plants are.

Dave Fair
July 23, 2019 11:39 am

Please tell China that Chuck says coal is dead.

Joel O'Bryan
July 23, 2019 11:47 am

The “tell.”
They were careful to use the phrase “ultra-low emission,” and not “ultra low carbon emissions.”

Another “Tell.”
“This was a big shift from two winters ago when authorities forced millions of northern households to convert from coal to natural gas or electricity in a bid to curb smog.

Curbing smog, which is the result of sulfur, nitrates, and particulates which they obviously are not adequately removing from many coal smokestacks at the moment. Smog has nothing to do with CO2.

Curious George
July 23, 2019 11:49 am

What exactly does it mean – “low emission”? Low CO2, or low soot and ash?

Reply to  Curious George
July 23, 2019 12:25 pm

What exactly does it mean – “low emission”? Low CO2, or low soot and ash?

See the last paragraph of linked article:

China uses ultra-low emissions technology at about 80% of its total coal-fired capacity. The technology cuts smog particles down to a minimum, but does little to curb climate-warming carbon emissions.

Reply to  Greg F
July 23, 2019 3:45 pm

LMAO. The Chinese never met an energy source they didn’t like. I don’t think their political or science folks consider CO2 a pollutant unlike some other “denser” types. Has Trump revoked that yet? Last I heard they were “looking into it”. Hopefully sanity will return here soon.

It has been known for a while (2+ decades) that if you burn coal in a high oxygen environment at a high enough temperature you get natural gas level of pollutants (or better). Why aren’t we doing it? The output is all CO2 and that is a pollutant (here & now anyway).

Another industry that we could be exporting. Sigh. Next up will be LFTR (double sigh).

Reply to  Curious George
July 23, 2019 12:28 pm

Both. These plants are also known as HELE, high efficiency low emissions. Another name for ultra supercritical steam generation. Use special nickel steel alloys for higher pressure/temperature steam. On bituminous or sub bituminous coal, the Chinese made units, each about 1 GW, run about 45% efficient compared to the US coal fleet average of 34%. The only USC coal plant in the US is Turk in Arkansas, 600MW and 42% efficient. The ones I illustrated in essay Clean Coal in ebook Blowing Smoke do have fly ash and sulfur dioxide scrubbers.

July 23, 2019 12:27 pm

Chinese magic unicorn poop.

Steve Z
July 23, 2019 12:29 pm

Most of the actual pollution from coal-fired power plants (in any country) is from ash and sulfur dioxide. Ash can be filtered out with baghouses, and sulfur dioxide can be absorbed by scrubbers, and both technologies are well-established and relatively inexpensive in the USA.

Carbon (CO2) capture and storage is much more difficult. Carbon dioxide can be separated from the remainder of flue gases (nitrogen, oxygen, water vapor) easily enough by absorption in solvents (although the solvent circulation rate must be huge, since the CO2 concentration in flue gas is about 15 to 18%).

The main problem with CCS (or CO sequestration) is compression. At atmospheric pressure and normal temperatures, CO2 is a gas, which would require huge underground volumes for storage. Carbon dioxide can be liquefied by compression and cooling, but its critical temperature (above which it cannot be liquefied) is about 31 C (88 F), and its critical pressure is about 1,060 psig, or about 74 times atmospheric pressure.

Even if CO2 could be compressed and cooled and liquefied at about 50 to 60 F, if liquid CO2 is buried far underground, there is the danger that geothermal heat could cause its temperature to rise, and if it reaches the critical temperature, CO2 would rapidly expand, possibly explosively, essentially causing man-made earthquakes.

This problem could be avoided by sequestering supercritical CO2, but this requires pressures above 1,100 psig, for which the power required to compress the CO2 would be about 30% of the power generated by the coal-fired power plant. This would increase the amount of coal required to produce 1 MW of net power (power generated – compression power consumed) by about 43% relative to a coal-fired power plant without CO2 capture and storage.

For the same power demand, sequestering CO2 may reduce temperatures a tiny fraction of a degree over the next 100 years, but it would burn through China’s (or that of any other country) coal supply 43% faster. The Communist government of China may be able to force this through on a small number of plants, but in a free-market economy, CO2 sequestration is not economically justifiable.

Reply to  Steve Z
July 23, 2019 1:22 pm

CO2 sequestration is economical when used for enhanced oil extraction. The whole thing about widespread support of sequestration by both the lunatic left and some republican senators is for tax subsidies or credits for those noble enough to do it. The oil companies support those subsidies/credits since they will be getting them for something they are already doing.

I am not anti oil, I am anti anything that distorts free markets for energy. Government subsidized sequestration would benefit oil and penalize coal.

GREG in Houston
Reply to  Steve Z
July 23, 2019 1:28 pm

Thanks for putting numbers to what I have been saying for years.

July 23, 2019 12:37 pm

And who says they are ultra-low emission and how this even checked ?
Trusting China on this height of stupidity.

Reply to  knr
July 23, 2019 2:01 pm

Well, I researched this and wrote it up in essay Clean Coal, noted in a comment above. The technology is well known, and also used (once) in the US. China is just the world leader in USC aka HELE coal generation. You can check for yourself if so inclined. ‘Trusting China’ is not necessary in this case.

Greg Staff
Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 23, 2019 2:42 pm

Thanks for that earlier comment – very informative. If significant maintenance is involved, then that can sometimes be a problem in the 3rd world.

July 23, 2019 12:46 pm

China must really be laughing at the the West, seeing how Xi made an agreement with Obama in 2015 for the Paris Accord that China would peak ’emissions’ in 2030. And basically be given a blank cheque to do pretty much anything they saw fit, while we in the West would be crippled by onerous regulations, carbon taxes and outright bans on our coal fired assets. Most certainly never building a new coal fired plant unless it was 100% CCS.

Given that China doesn’t tell the truth on anything, just one example being the South China Sea when they promised Obama that their seven man made islands wouldn’t be used for military purposes, while they were simultaneously busy looting the USA/West of technological IP and not playing fair with trade, it is no surprise that they will never meet any ‘carbon’ targets they helped enforce on the West. I think President Trump is being far too polite and generous in dealing with China, although to be fair, he is the only world leader with a pair of balls big enough to confront China directly. Trump should open up the file on all these CO2 emissions with the Paris accord including China as the largest emitter, just like he did with the Iran nuke deal. That would bury the Paris Accord once and forever as China would never agree to anything.

Reply to  Earthling2
July 23, 2019 3:05 pm

Trump got us out of the Paris Accords. I think Obama certainly knew that China is not trustworthy and that the whole thing is a scam. I think he just wanted to get rich. He hated America the whole time he was in office and I think he thinks China’s development of Africa will work out better than the colonization of the west. But I think he ultimately really just wanted to be rich enough to be untouchable.

Mark Broderick
Reply to  xenomoly
July 23, 2019 4:52 pm

“Who should we trust, a billionaire that became a politician or a politician that became a multi millionaire” ?

mike macray
Reply to  Mark Broderick
July 26, 2019 8:39 am

Mark B:
“Who should we trust, a billionaire that became a politician or a politician that became a multi millionaire” ?

Given the choice between someone who goes into politics poor and comes out rich and someone who goes in rich and comes out less rich I’ll take the latter any day!

Reply to  xenomoly
July 23, 2019 11:34 pm

Obama wanted the legacy of having finally got China on board with the COP scam. He went and made them an offer they could not refuse: we’ll destroy our own economy and let you develop yours as you wish. All I need is for you to agree to that so I can unilaterally sign an “agreement” , because I do not have the authority to sign a treaty. Don’t worry, none of this is legally binding.

I’ll be shutting down US coal powered generation, so you will be getting cheaper coal imports as this moves forward. With a bit of luck we’ll both get a Nobel Peace Prize for this.

July 23, 2019 12:52 pm

I asked my relative who supervises a large (1.2 GW) coal-fired power plant about the technology they use to reduce various emissions. I was amazed to hear how little real pollution escapes into the atmosphere anymore from newer or updated plants. Pretty much all that’s left is delicious plant food, CO2.

July 23, 2019 4:09 pm

We all know that China is simply taking advantage of the original Kyoto fiasco of allowing all of the so called “Third World and undeveloped countries to have a “”Get of Jail card Free. “.

Faced with the refusal of the majority of the worlds countries to sign up, they said that only the rich Western countries should do the right thing re. emissions.

So why did the Western countries ever accept such a unfair deal ?. It should be brought up at the next big Green talk fest, and we should say all or none.

That would end this nonsense once and for all.


Robert of Ottawa
July 23, 2019 5:11 pm

China to use low-carbon coal? Yes, it is rediculous. If they make more efficient thermoelectric generating stations, that is good, a goal of every practical engineer.

July 23, 2019 7:03 pm

Reuters. Leaving it to the last sentence to reveal that they’re writing about particulate matter.

‘Truth’ in journalism. These people are at best, ignorant; but most likely – dishonest. They know what they’re doing.

Geoff Sherrington
July 23, 2019 7:26 pm

Generally speaking, the history of China is NOT one of aggression. It has been defensive, much more than offensive, in military activity for the last century or so. Some might argue as onlookers that Tibet has been an exception, but the Chinese regard Tibet as always part of their territory.
There is a problem with non-Chinese onlookers (like me) making uninformed comments about diverse topics that are really Chinese business, not ours. At least I have visited China several times, held discussions with high level officials -and even wrote an illustrated book about this.
It should be clear to onlookers that China will set its own directions. It might or might not seek or act on advice from others. Frankly, it is stupid to assign any weight to what President Obama is said to have achieved by discussions with China about the Paris agreement. China already had a plan and it was not going to be diverted by a shonky science threat from Germany and a few other silly countries.
In summary, I am quite relaxed just watching China, not aspiring to offering it suggestions, just accepting that it’s approach to international affairs is likely better done than that of many countries, including a number who think they know better. I have seen no strong evidence that they do know better, including matters of climate change as described by non-Chinese.
Time will tell. Geoff.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
July 24, 2019 5:53 am

You might want to review your comment Geoff.

Loren Wilson
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
July 24, 2019 9:14 am

Hitler always regarded the Sudetenland as part of Germany. Russia wants Ukraine back. They are part of the way there. I see China as much more aggressive than you do, based on their activities.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
July 24, 2019 9:31 am

“Generally speaking, the history of China is NOT one of aggression. It has been defensive, much more than offensive, in military activity for the last century or so. Some might argue as onlookers that Tibet has been an exception, but the Chinese regard Tibet as always part of their territory.”

Yeah, China regards a lot of places as being part of their territory, just like Adoph Hitler regarded large parts of Europe as German territory.

Tibetans are not Chinese, and the Tibetans were in Tibet before the Chinese. The Chinese stole Tibet from the Tibetans and the world did nothing. If there is any justice in the world, the Chinese will pay for this crime against humanity.

China does not have a modern history of military accomplishments. The Vietnamese taught them a lesson in the 1980’s when the Chinese thought they had found some Chinese territory in Vietnam.

About the only modern military success China can claim is the rape and murder of Tibet, if you can call an organized military gunning down innocent, helpless civilians a military exercise.

China has not established that it is a winner on the modern-day military battlefield. They have all the bells and whistles, but as the inspecting general said: “They look good, but can they fight!?

In my opinion, the freedom and self-reliance Americans learn from birth, as a result of living in this most free country, translates into making Americans the most formidable fighting force in history. I would put them up against anyone and expect them to win.

Americans have a history of winning on the battlefields. It’s our tradition. And from my personal experience, the current-day U.S. military is several orders of magnitude more lethal than in past generations. You can sleep well tonight if you are an American or an American ally.

As an aside: Sean Hannity of Fox News should study a little more military history. He seems to think we currently have the technology to wage war without putting U.S. troops on the ground. First of all, we don’t have such technology, and second of all, he should study President Bill Clinton and his military actions in Kosovo against the Serbs who were massacring muslims in Kosovo.

Clinton thought he could get by with bombing the Serbs into submission, but soon found out that bombing doesn’t work that way. The British allies said ground troops had to be put in to finish off the Serbs, but Clinton resisted and only relented when the British threatened to go it alone. Within a matter of weeks after inserting ground troops, the war was over.

At one point during the Kosovo war, the Russians occupied a key airport which could have greatly complicated the course of the war, and Wesley Clark was the American general in charge of American forces, although he was not the supreme commander, a British general was, and this crazy man, Wesley Clark, was advocating that Allied forces attack the Russians at the airport and eliminate this problem. The British commander said he was not prepared to start a nuclear war over the Russian occupation of an airport and rejected Clark’s idea. And aren’t we glad about that!

About a week later, a compromise was negotiated with the Russians and they withdrew their military forces from the airport. No nuclear war required. Wesley Clark is sometimes featured as an expert talking head on channells like MSNBC and CNN, but it should be obvious from the above antics that you should not take his advice seriously. He’s a reckless, dangerous man.

Anyway, Hannity, if we have another war in the near future, we will need boots on the ground. There’s no way around it. The good news is that the boots we put on the ground are the best, most capable boots in existence.

I’m all for sending robots to do our fighting for us, but we’re not there yet.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
July 26, 2019 12:45 am

Thank you for reminding everyone that although America is technically and numerically superior to the British, we do still have some great thinkers!

David Blenkinsop
July 23, 2019 9:26 pm

You know, it’s hard not to have at least a kind of grudging admiration at times for the generally very authoritarian, yet it some ways commonsensical Chinese approach to things. However, I don’t really share Geoff Sherrington’s laid back view of Chinese government motives? For one thing they pound away making artificial islands in the South China Sea just to wrest control of ocean resources away from other neighboring countries? Here in Canada too, we are just beginning to learn what tactics China can bring to bear, in the Huaweii executive arrest case. It would be just too naive to assume that the Chinese government really always has fairness, harmony and the world’s best interests at heart!

By the way, who told them they own Tibet anyhow? Can Canada have Russia then? I mean, it’s just over there across the North Pole someplace? I sure we could find enough people of Russian extraction here in Canada to justify our claim to owning Russia! Or maybe we already have claim to about as much land area as any federated country could possibly handle — I have to think that one over …

Anyway in light of recent discussions about Lord Christopher Monckton’s climate theory ideas, I just have to point out that, to my knowledge, the one country where he has managed to publish in a refereed journal so far is — you guessed it — China! I just came across a sort of “whiney” article about this that just strikes me as funny somehow, it is located at:

July 24, 2019 5:35 am

So, the take away is more coal fired plants in China. Got it.

Aaron Edwards
July 24, 2019 3:04 pm

The take away is that China can be counted on to do the most expeditious thing both economically and Geopolitically. They have coal and they will burn every last lump of it. They care nothing about manmade CO2 and catastrophic climate change because deep down they know more CO2 will increase food production. They do care about air pollution and that is the only reason they seek HELE. I have no doubt that as they put themselves to the task they will eventually find a marvelous way to burn coal and reduce air pollution to amazingly low levels. They have to. Afterwards we will steal this technology from them for an ironic twist and shout.

July 26, 2019 12:39 am

I flew over the Guangdong to Beijing area, amongst other routes, for 20+ years and watched the electrification of China with interest. As an ex-recce pilot I carried binoculars and surveyed the new-build power stations with interest. They mostly had 2 boiler structures and were built on coal seams. My postulation is that the second, redundant structure, was a future-proofing build – for a Thorium MSR capability. Evidence – none, but China is spending a fortune financing France and Norway’s research into Thorium MSRs. Could this be the ‘Ultra low emission (follow-on to) coal-fired power’?

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