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Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Activities in China

At the occasion of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit to China from December 2 – 6, 2009, a MOU was signed between the two governments. Under this MOU, clean energy, especially the “cleaner use of coal, including carbon capture and storage” , has been identified as the key area of potential cooperation between the two countries. The two countries have agreed to strengthen such cooperation through policies, programmes, projects, technology development and transfer.

Under strong governments support, the potential for CCS cooperation between Canada and China are considerable. Opportunities such as technology, information and personnel exchange, two ways investment, and sourcing opportunities from China, will be beneficial to both countries to optimize CCS technology, reduce cost, thus shorten the commercialization process for CCS for both countries.

It is widely acknowledged that Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is essential to cut carbon emissions and thus mitigate the impacts of climate change. CCS is especially important to China given the coal-and-electricity relationship in the country. China is a coal-rich country and nearly 70% of its electricity is generated by coal. According to BP, China has 114.5 billion tonnes in its coal reserves, about 13.5% of the global total, compared to 2.1 billion tonnes of oil and 66.54 billion cubic metres of natural gas, accounting 1.3% and 1.1% of the world total respectively.

Till now, China has carried out a series of activities to promote CCS development. In terms of Chinese government support, some of the important programs are listed below:

  1. The Outline of the National Program, for Medium and Long-term Science and Technology Development (2006 - 2020) - issued by the State Council in February 2006, in which CCS was highlighted as an important frontier technology, and the development of efficient, clean and near-zero emissions fossil energy technology was listed as a key component in the advanced energy area.

  2. China’s Scientific and Technological Actions on Climate Change – issued by Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) in conjunction with other 13 ministries and departments in June 2007. It stipulated that there will be focus on CO2 capture, utilization and storage technologies, through developing key technologies, designing a technology roadmap, and engineering and carrying out technical demonstration project.

  3. National Key Technology R&D Program – During the 10th and 11th five-year plan, the program has supported strategic studies on CCS.

  4. National Basic Research Program (973 program) – there are several projects under 973 program which are related to CCS.

  5. National High-Tech Research and Development Program (863 Program) – including a CO2 Injection/Sequestration in Deep Coal Seams for Coal Bed Methane ( CBM ) exploitation. This is a joint Canada-China cooperation project where China United Coal Bed Methane Corp. Ltd (CUCBM) received a total of 9.9 million RMB through MOST, in collaboration with Petromin Resources Ltd. of Canada and Enviro Energy International Holdings of HongKong, Alberta Research Council of Canada (ARC).

Moreover it is very likely that CCS will be included in the National 12th Five Year Plan.

With strong Government support, China has established several CCS demonstration projects:

  1. GreenGen project, a joint initiative by China HuaNeng Group and other major state-owned power giants, combining Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) technology with CSS;

  2. ShenHua Group's coal-to-liquids and CSS project in Ordos, Inner Mongolia.

  3. China HuaNeng Group's post-combustion capture project in Gaobeidian in Beijing (3000 tons, all the captured CO2 will be sold)

  4. China HuaNeng Group's CCS project in Shidongkou, Shanghai (10,000 tons/year, all the CO2 will be sold)

  5. Pilot program in Jilin oil field established by PetroChina – the first project on CO2 storage and utilization (Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) at Jilin Oilfield. The project has been in operation since 2006 and has worked well till now.

Even though China has carried out research, development and demonstration of CCS technology, it is still at an early stage. Therefore international cooperation is very important. China already participated in a number of important international collaborative projects, for instance China-UK Near Zero Emissions Coal (NZEC), China-Australia Geological Storage (CAGS) project, EU-China COACH project, etc.

The Canada-China cooperation on CCS, in addition to the CO2 Injection/Sequestration in Deep Coal Seams for Coal Bed Methane (CBM) mentioned above, there is a most recent development on CCS cooperation between two large Canadian and Chinese entities.

In terms of challenges, the implementation of CCS in China faces the same obstacles it does globally: issues that arise from the costs, the storage, the risks and the uncertainties. But the coal-and-electricity relationship (nearly 70% of electricity generated by coal) in China means CCS will be a strategic choice for China in addition to the development of renewable energy. Moreover the potential huge market for CCS (3/4 of total installed capacity is thermal power plant) will also make China the largest consumer of CCS technology.

Funding from the Government of Canada is found at: