China eyes biogas as coal alternative in rural areas

It aims to produce 30bcm of biogas from agricultural waste and manure by 2030.

The Chinese National Development and Reform Commission has outlined a new objective to produce 30 bcm of biogas from agricultural waste and manure by 2030, as part of wider measures to reduce the domestic coal consumption in rural regions by 50 Mt (China's total coal consumption stood at 3.7 Gt in 2017). The development of biogas will also help the country to meet its growing consumption requirement and slightly cut the country’s rising demand for LNG imports.

China plans to replace coal-fired power capacities with gas-fired capacities to reduce air pollution in cities and meet its Paris climate agreement commitments (cutting CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 60-65% by 2030, compared to 2005 level), which will require new gas supplies. Gas consumption should rise to between 450 bcm and 500 bcm by 2030 and China would then become the second largest gas consumer worldwide, behind the United States.

The development of biogas is one of many measures developed to achieve this goal. Meanwhile, gas producers such as state-owned Sinopec plan to boost domestic gas exploration, focusing on the development of shale gas resources, while other are investing in gas interests abroad (Australia, Russia, Kazakhstan). In addition, China is developing new gas import pipelines, from Central Asia and Turkmenistan in particular, and from Russia (Power of Siberia gas pipeline project expected in 2019). LNG import capacities should also be doubled in five years.

This article was originally published by Enerdata.

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