In a drive to reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants and create ‘smokeless cities’, state-owned China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec) is set to develop geothermal heating capacity in Xiongxian county in China’s northern Hebei province.

According to the China Daily newspaper, 20 planned low-pollution zones will be spread across the country covering 100 million square metres, and are planned to be developed during the nation’s 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020).

Sinopec believes that around 60 per cent of the land in Xiongxian county holds significant geothermal resources, with a groundwater temperature of over 55 degrees C and 82.1 billion cubic metres of hydro-geologic water reserves.

Sinopec Green Energy, the company’s joint venture with Iceland’s Orka Energy Holding, has moved its headquarters to Xiongxian and aims to provide over 16 million square metres of geothermal heating area.

Sinopec’s installed geothermal heating capacity was reported at 4.5 million square metres in July.

Under the 13th Five Year Plan, China aims to grow its geothermal heating capacity by 500 GW by 2020 and enlarge the area covered by geothermal heating by 1.1bn square metres.