In a bid to meet government expectations on emissions control, China Huaneng Group is to spend over $1.6bn on clean coal equipment.

In order to do its bit to improve China’s air quality, all of the group’s coal-fired power plants will be equipped with desulfurization and dust removal equipment by the end of the year.

The announcement was made by Zhao Yi, director of the company’s science and technology for environmental protection department.

The company predicts that, based on current technology, the Huaneng Beijing Thermal Power Plant will reach “near-zero” emissions by the end of 2015.

By 2015, up to 25 per cent of the group’s installed generation capacity will be renewable energy, including solar, wind, nuclear and hydropower.

“Coal will continue to be the majority source for China’s energy supply because of its low cost and rich reserves,” said Dai Bing, director of the coal industry information department at JYD Online Corp, a Beijing-based bulk commodity consultancy.

He told ECNS website that considering the limited volume of imported natural gas and reduced crude oil exploration in the country, China needs to use coal in a cleaner and more efficient way.
Huaneng PowerBeijing-based Huaneng Clean Energy Research Institute, owned by the group, has many labs studying advanced power generation technology.

Xu Shisen, head of the institute, said Huaneng’s Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle project, which can transform coal into gas for power generation, has been put into operation. The emissions of the project are equal to 10 per cent of those of a conventional baseload power plant, said Xu.

The unit cost of the IGCC project for power generation may be four times that of a common coal-fired power plant, so it is not ready for commercial operations.

However, Xu said that as natural gas prices continue to rise, the project will gain an advantage and it is likely to be put into commercial operation soon.