Sino-U.S. New Energy Sci-Tech Forum and Conference on Coalmine Methane Recovery and Utilization
Jincheng, Shanxi Province, China
February 24-27, 2009
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recognized JHCGA’s leadership in promoting clean coal in China with a grant (cooperative agreement XA-83396201) to identify and explore opportunities for recovery and utilization of methane emissions from coal mines in China’s Shanxi province. Shanxi province leads China in coal production with almost 650 million tons per year and with coalmine methane (CMM) emissions of over 65 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year – roughly the entire amount of annual CMM emissions in the U.S.
Methane is a combustible gas which must be extracted for safety reasons from coal mines prior to and during mining operations. As an alternative to simply releasing it into the atmosphere, where it has over 20 times the heat-trapping capacity of carbon dioxide, it can be deployed as a clean-burning fuel source equivalent in chemical composition and energy content to conventional natural gas. The purpose of the JHCGA project is to help prepare the way for commercial projects to develop such alternatives in Shanxi province.
The project extends over an 18-month period from November 2008 to May 2010. It began with a meeting in the municipality of Jincheng which brought international experts on CMM recovery and utilization together with key municipal government officials and leaders of mining enterprises. Jincheng, a city of 2.2 million population in southern Shanxi province, contains roughly ¼ the total coalmine methane and coalbed methane resources of China at 6.8 trillion cubic meters. Jincheng also leads China in rates of both extraction of methane (40-45%) and utilization of extracted methane (55-60%). For example, the city is home to the largest CMM-fired power plant in the world, a 120 MW facility built by Caterpillar and financed largely by the Asian Development Bank.
The Jincheng meeting concluded with a declaration pledging the cooperation of key signatories, including the Jincheng Municipal Government, the Shanxi Foreign Affairs Office, GE/Energy (China), and JHCGA. The declaration embodies the twin principles of energy conservation and emissions reductions – jie nang jian pai -- and outlines key steps by which signatories propose to give concrete meaning to these principles.