China boosts coal imports to 76 % in September
China imported 32.9 million tonnes of coal in September – a 76 % leap from levels of a year ago, according to figures from the country’s customs authority. The figure represented a 17 % month-on-month rise from August.

     In recent years, the share of imports in China’s coal consumption has gradually increased – from 1 % in 2005 to 6 % in 2010 and 8 % in 2020, the BP Statistical Review reported. Imports help meet sharp rises in demand – difficult to cover by virtue of domestic production. Between 2010 and 2020, domestic production rose annually by an average of 1.3 %.

    A steep rise of this nature occurred this year – in the first half of 2021, electricity consumption climbed 16.2 % in China,   the State Directorate for Energy reported. And that spurred an increase in coal-fired power generation — coal-fired generation accounted for 63 % of the total in China in 2020.

    Demand for coal in China is also boosted by the development of technologies in coal processing, Global Energy laureate Zinfer Ismagilov said on 14th October during a session at the Russian Energy Week entitled “The Future of Coal in a World Shaped by the Climate Agenda: The End, or a New Beginning?”

   “Every year in China, more than 100 million tonnes of coal is processed and made into useful products,” Ismagilov said, adding that an increase in demand for coal could be spurred by increased efficiency in production and the use of CO2 capture and storage technologies.

    Yet another technology – Healy Clean Coal — provides for combustion of coal with lower levels of nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide emissions. Stepan Solzhenitsyn, the CEO of Russian energy company SUEK, noted during the session: “It is already in use in rapidly developing countries – in India and China.”

    In Russia, he said, new technologies are available, making it possible to minimise the carbon footprint in the burning of coal: For instance, the semi-coking of coal to create smoke-free briquettes, a product whose features for consumers have already led it to capture 10 % of the market in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk.

    “Products like this could be used and become a significant economic factor in industry,” Solzhenitsyn said.

     Demand for coal will be boosted by the need for reliable and readily available energy sources, Michelle Manook, CEO of the World Coal Association, told the session.     “Suggesting that the only way to provide cheap access to energy is through production from wind farms and solar panels when the weather is clear or windy means that someone is simply not telling the whole story,” Manook said.


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October 2021