Catching up on our reading of the official Chinese press (because of recent trade news, that’s why), we spotted a story about China making full use of its abundant coal resources:
China’s first coal liquefaction project, which will go into operation in 2008, will be able to produce more than one million tons of oil a year, significantly reducing the country’s dependence on oil imports.
Shenhua Group Corporation Limited, one of China’s largest coal producers, launched the coal liquefaction project in 2004 in Erdos, a city in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
When the second phase is completed in 2010, the plant will produce six million tons of oil products each year, reducing China’s reliance on foreign oil, officials say.
Smart move, one that Congressman Nick Rahall, D-WV, acknowledges in his release announcing formation of the National Coal To Liquids (CTL) Coalition. Rahall notes that the U.S. Air Force is taking the lead in studying coal liquefaction for the purposes of aviation fuel; tests are under way at Minot AFB in North Dakota. (Stories here and here.)
It’s a promising technology that should play a major role in ensuring America’s future energy security, especially as abundant coal reserves represent one of this country’s great competitive advantages. Sure hope politicians do not sacrifice that economic edge in the rush to curry favor with environmental absolutists.
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