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China and UK Launch Near Zero Emissions Coal Phase 1 Study

The governments of China and the UK formally launched the Near Zero Emissions Coal (NZEC) Phase 1 study in Beijing, China. The aim of the Phase 1 appraisal study is to look at the feasibility of building coal-fired power plants in China fitted with CO2 capture and storage (CCS). NZEC implements the vision of realizing a large scale Near Zero Emissions Coal demonstration in China as agreed at the EU-China Summit in September 2005.

Phase 2 of the NZEC project will define and design a demonstration project, and Phase 3 will build and operate that project. Outputs from Phase 1 will be important in determining further activities in Phases 2 and 3.

China’s CO2 emissions from using coal are set to double by 2030, the scale of which is significant in the context of mitigating global climate change. In view of the essential role of coal in China’s energy system, it is vital to minimize emissions where coal is used.

CCS offers the opportunity to reduce emissions per unit of electricity by 85 - 90%. Large-scale deployment of CCS in China has potential to significantly reduce future greenhouse gas emissions.

—Dr. Nick Riley MBE, Head of Science for Energy at British Geological Survey (BGS)

The geotechnical aspects of the research will involve selecting strategic sedimentary basins to be mapped for potential regional CO2 storage assessments (geocapacity), followed by more detailed assessment of sites potentially suitable for a demonstration of CO2 storage in China linked to a demonstration of CO2 capture from a coal-fired power station.

A Geographical Information System (GIS) linking current and planned large CO2 point sources to potential geological storage options (source-sink matching) will be constructed.

The British Geological Survey (BGS) and the China University of Petroleum (Beijing) will co-ordinate the CO2 geological storage part of the study, which also includes working in close partnership with Heriot Watt University, BP & Shell (UK) and the China University of Petroleum (HuaDong), Institute of Geology and Geophysics Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Tsinghua University, PetroChina, Jilin Oilfield and China United Coalbed Methane Corp (CUCBM).

NZEC is funded by the UK Government through Defra and DBERR and is co-ordinated by AEA Energy & Environment (UK) and ACCA21 (China).

The Near Zero Emissions Coal (NZEC) initiative was announced as part of the EU-China Partnership on Climate Change at the EU-China Summit in September 2005. The Joint Declaration on climate change stated that the EU and China will aim “to develop and demonstrate in China and the EU advanced, near-zero emissions coal technology through carbon capture and storage” by 2020.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the UK and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) on December 19th 2006 to detail specific UK funded action (NZEC). A complementary MoU was signed between MOST and the European Commission on February 20th 2006. Both MoUs detail a common set of objectives to be achieved during Phase 1 of the NZEC initiative.

The British Geological Survey (BGS) co-ordinates the CO2GeoNet European Research Network of Excellence on the geological storage of CO2 and is the UK’s foremost public sector organization conducting research into the feasibility of underground CO2 storage as a means of decarbonizing fossil fuel emissions.




China should cut emissions using proven technology (eg burning less) starting 2007 not 2020.

gavin walsh

China's emissions are so great only sequestration can put a significant dent in them. also, anyone expecting China to sacrifice economic growth in order to reduce emissions better get used to disappointment.


The only way any any developing country will forego coal and other fossil energy projects is if the alternative technologies get really cheap, really fast.


How much coal does China possess? I've heard that they're getting concerned about their reserves since their consumption is growing so rapidly.


Right on,
The standard of commentary on this site is really very pleasing.
China and India are in a unique position of not having dug themselves too great a hole as yet. Down the path of unsustainability.
The opportunity to step out on the right foot using the new tech surely hasn't passed under their radar.
In technological terms they will without question and a litle encouragement be world leaders as the Dinosaurian industries which burden the 1st world have not as yet overtaken common sense.
Rather than Gross Domestic Product, The new measure of a countries wealth can be measured in gross domestic happiness.

I would have to disagree and say that china has absolutely dug themselves into a hole. The large amount of acid rain that falls from the sky on a large portion of the country due to the ridiculous number of coal plants without emissions controls probably supports my case.


I wouldn't disagree with you there.
What I mean is that as we move forward with the wisdom of hindsight, Both these countries have unique opportunities.
To move to in accordance with he new paradigm.
There is no way I will be sacrificing my freedoms to Sate sponsored Interests.
But don't forget we are all a work in progress. Hisorically countries have had ups and downs often as a result of political or leadership abilities.
I know there are challenges beyond simple answers, but
I suspect there are particular opportunities albeit different to those we have available in the west.
This is in the long run likely to have a dividend comensurate with he problems.
I guess This is how I see the challenge. Im not suggesting any of this will sort itself out without a creative approach. And good will.
I'm just heartened that now we are past denial, the 1st stage hard work will start to pay dividends.


They should be working equally hard to modernize their mining operations. Focusing only on the combustion end of the energy equation is missing the catastrophic human and environmenta costs stemming from their appalling mining practices.


the only clean coal is the coal that is left in the ground. even if there were no CO2 emissions from coal plants, the social and environmental problems caused just by the mining would be big enough to make it an unsavory endeavor.

china is focused on nuclear power, just as it should be. hopefully, the plants will be government run with their primary focus on safety rather than profitability.

maybe Japan should offer to build the plants for them, since they are one of the recipients of china's acid rain and since they operate one of the largest collections of nuke power plants

Stan Peterson

Hectoring people to do without when you have as much as you want, is a pre-ordained, self defeating proposition.

We listen to it on these blog pages everday as some people complain about other peoples choices for vehicles, reserving special wrath for SUVs. While I agree that the SUV is probably more vehicle than most people need everyday, but can't criticize when they choose to puchase for the extreme, and occasional need. And assume the costs of doing so, Such as towing the boat to the lake occasionally.

It is also an extremely common attitude adopted by persons who declare what they do is OK, but what other so is not. I believe most intolerant are some religionists, criticizing the actions of others. The most intolerant religion I find is called Being Green...

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