A Chinese coal company, with the help of modern technology, has turned inferior coal into a precious resource in north east China’s Heilongjiang Province.
China’s northeast is home to a considerable wealth of mineral resources. But as these resources become depleted, new ones must be found for economic growth, one of which is inferior coal.
Beneath the lands of the freezing northeast, 870 million tons of lignite, also known as brown coal, will soon bring light and warmth to China’s Heilongjiang Province.
A recently built coal mine in Baoqing County is one of the biggest open-pit coal mines in this coal producing province. It’s also one of the few places in the country that generates electricity using inferior coal which has low heat but high water content.
“We’ve been using lignite with low heat and high water content as a source of fuel for electricity and heat in the region, and the costs of power and heat supply have been greatly reduced,” said Deng Mingchuan, director of the engineering department of Baoqing Coal Power Chemical of China Energy.
At the mine’s pithead power plant, industrial technology is changing the fate of brown coal. A bigger furnace, electrostatic cleaning, and desulfurization devices enable sufficient burning while ensuring emission standards are met.
With an expected annual output of ten million tons, reserves are estimated to last over 80 years and create more than five billion kilowatt-hours in power each year.
For Baoqing, the coal power project is just a starting point for improved development.
Work has been done with research institutes, in an attempt to find eco-friendly and cost-efficient production plans for materials extracted from brown coal, including montan wax which can be used for everything from leather finishes to waterproofing.