China reins in liquid coal

Remember the liquid coal hearing at 10 am EST today, webcast here.

Even China appears to be moving away from coal to liquid. The AP writes

China “may put an end to projects that are designed to produce petroleum by liquefying coal,” the official Xinhua press agency said, quoting an official of the country’s top economic planning agency.

Why? Because it is so polluting and water intensive. As the Xinhua New Agency reported (in the most thorough news account I have seen of China’s liquid coal effort):


China has raised the capital threshold for projects converting coal to liquid fuel to brake a possible overheating in the coal-chemical industry, as excessive development of the fossil fuel pollutes the environment and strains the water supply….

Coal liquefaction soaks up water, and China — especially its northern and northwestern regions — is short of water. To develop coal liquefaction would intensify such inadequacy. Except for Yunnan and Guizhou provinces in Southwest China, most coal-rich provinces run short of water.

In addition to its massive water needs, coal liquefaction discharges waste gas, waste water and industrial effluent, creating significant environmental risks.

If China is smart enough to make it harder — not easier — to do liquid coal projects, so should we.