Shanxi leading the way for zero-carbon coal mining in N. China

The action plan in the coal-rich province of Shanxi is paving the way in instigating a green and low-carbon transformation throughout North China. This initiative will not only introduce cutting-edge technologies like carbon capture, utilisation, and storage but also foster industrial growth.

Shanxi province has outlined its objective of identifying approximately five coal mines to serve as the testing grounds for innovative approaches encompassing energy conservation, carbon reduction, zero-carbon energy provision, efficient gas utilisation, and the establishment of ecological carbon sinks. The ultimate goal is to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions within these sites.

Projections suggest that these designated sites are anticipated to achieve a reduction of over 20 percent in CO2 emissions per metric ton of raw coal, in comparison to 2020 levels. This notable decrease is aimed at culminating in net-zero emissions by the year 2030.

Wu Lixin, chief expert of the Coal Industry Planning Institute, which is part of China Coal Technology and Engineering Group, said: “This roadmap offers a green and low-carbon transformation plan for the traditional high-carbon industries, offering methods for calculating relevant indicators, such as total CO2 emissions and their intensity. It serves as a reference for low-carbon transformation for areas that are rich in traditional resources.”

Wu said the action plan would drive the energy industry toward clean and efficient utilisation, across coal mining, coal-fired power generation, steel, nonferrous metals and coal chemical industries.

“It would also promote the development of CCUS technologies, and raise standards and norms for green exploration of coal and minerals, coal mine construction, development, utilisation and processing equipment.”

Lin Boqiang, head of the China Institute for Studies in Energy Policy at Xiamen University, noted the action plan signifies Shanxi’s commitment to low-carbon transformation. “Aside from CCUS, there are numerous technologies that achieve zero-carbon emissions in coal mining processes, such as utilising clean energy sources like wind and solar to power mining operations, or offsetting emissions through carbon sink and carbon trading.”

As a traditional coal-producer, Shanxi’s first-half output reached 678.38 million tons, or about 29.5 percent of the nation’s output, according to the provincial bureau of statistics.

In recent years, Shanxi has accelerated its efforts to integrate the coal industry’s development with carbon reduction technologies. By the end of June, Shanxi had established 46 intelligent coal mines, with advanced coal production capacity accounting for over 80 percent.

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