Japan To Help China Liquefy Coal As Oil Alternative

To help respond to soaring energy demand in its giant neighbor, Japan will help Chinese companies liquefy coal as an alternative to oil, a Japanese government official said April 13.

Experiments on the technology will start in Beijing this year under the Japanese government-funded New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, the energy agency official said. Chinese companies will then build plants near mines to turn coal into liquid energy such as gasoline and light oil, he said.

"Petroleum prices are soaring but there are abundant coal deposits" in China, the official said. The liquefying project "will help fill energy demand in inland areas that are suffering a supply shortage and will lead to an easing of the supply-demand balance in all Asia," he said. It would be more economical to try the technology in China than in Japan which has fewer available mines, he said.

A Chinese power company would start operating a liquefying plant in 2010 to process daily 3,000 tons of coal mined in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Japan will also work with a coal company to develop a mine in the Uighur autonomous region of Xinjiang and start test-operating a plant in 2010 to process 2,500-3,000 tons of coal a day.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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