A report presented to the Annual General Meeting of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED), chaired by Li Keqiang, vice premier, in Beijing yesterday and to Premier Wen Jiabao concludes that China has much to gain from taking an early start in the development of a low-carbon economy and should seriously consider carbon intensity targets in its next 5-year plan.
The proposals of the Low Carbon Economy taskforce are partly based on a set of energy scenarios produced by the Chinese Energy Research Institute. Drawing on five pillars (energy, urbanization, industrial restructuring, innovation and land-use change), the report outlines specific recommendations to put China on a path that will reduce energy consumption per unit of GDP by 75-85% by 2050. If implemented in the short term, that is within the 12th 5-year plan, carbon emissions per unit of gross domestic product could drop by 20-23% or possibly more.
The proposals are partly based on a set of energy demand scenarios produced by the Chinese Energy Research Institute. One adopts a continuation of current trends that will result in the production of nearly 13bn tonnes of CO2 per year by 2050. A second, produced as a “low-carbon scenario”, reduces emissions to nearly 9bn tonnes. A third, more radical “enhanced low-carbon” scenario would produce peak emissions around 2025, reducing to 5bn tonnes by 2050.
In each scenario China would continue its economic growth. However, the Chinese believe significant reductions can be achieved by decoupling growth from greenhouse gas emissions, as Sweden has done.
By 2050, 64 per cent of China’s economy is expected to be in services and 3 per cent in primary industries such as mining, compared with 40 per cent and 12 per cent today.
During the 12th five-year plan, energy-saving measures and new energy sources could reduce carbon emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 20-23 per cent or possibly more.
The energy mix will progressively change. In the medium term there will be an increase in renewable energy and nuclear power, with 50 per cent of generating capacity coming from low-carbon sources by 2030. By 2050 all new power sources will be low carbon. Technology will be critical. Much can be achieved by adapting existing technologies to Chinese conditions. But if the enhanced low-carbon scenario is to be followed it will require innovation and technology sharing on a global scale.
The Chinese plan is to reduce energy consumption per unit of GDP by 75-85 per cent by 2050. It will be achieved through industrial restructuring and efficiency gains in every economic sector, including new low-carbon cities that avoid suburban sprawl and prioritise public transport.
This will be complemented by much higher efficiency in fossil fuel use, a shift to renewable energy and the use of carbon capture and storage (CCS).
An integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) is a technology that turns coal into gas—synthesis gas (syngas). It then removes impurities from the coal gas before it is combusted. This results in lower emissions of sulfur dioxide, particulates and mercury. Excess heat from the primary combustion and generation is then passed to a steam cycle, similarly to a combined cycle gas turbine. this then also results in improved efficiency compared to conventional pulverized coal.
IGCC Fuel Cell
The integrated coal gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power generation system under development in Japan provides a generation efficiency of 48% for dry gas cleaning. Also, the integrated coal gasification fuel cell combined cycle (IGFC) provides 55%. These efficiency levels are 7% to 8% lower than that of natural gas-fired IGCC/IGFC.
Unlike the existing IGCC/IGFC system that integrates partial oxidation gasifiers, fuel cells, and gas and steam turbines using a cascade method of energy utilization, the A-IGCC/A-IGFC (Advanced IGCC/IGFC) system directs recycled heat from gas turbines or fuel cells back into steam reforming gasifiers that employ endothermic reactions. This next generation exergy recovery-type IGCC/IGFC being studied. With exergy recovery, the A-IGCC, using 1700oC gas turbines, is expected to provide a generation efficiency of 57% and the A-IGFC, employing fuel cells, is expected to provide a generation efficiency as high as 65%. Thus, this technology is expected to have the potential to bring about a dramatic increase in system efficiency, contributing, in the future, to the provision of energy resources and a reduction in CO2 emissions.
Jiangxi Provincial government announced during the conference that the the province would cooperate with the Finland government to build a low carbon eco-city in Gongqing city by the Poyang Lake,China’s largest freshwater lake.
The city covering six square kilometers was designed to accommodate 100,000 residents. The project will begin at the beginning of 2010 and be completed in 2013.
“China’s urbanization process will bring millions of rural people into the cities. How to build cities for sustainable development is a challenge to China,” said Mauri Tommila, whose company, Finland’s DigiEcoCity Ltd, joined the eco-city project.
The company will build another eco-city in east China’s Jiangsu Province and had begun negotiation with Shanghai and Beijing Municipal government for more eco-city plans, Tommila said.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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