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Kyiv, Ukraine — Ukraine sees substitution of imported gas with coal as a strategic issue, noted the Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykola Azarov. “We are interested in the Chinese technology of coal gasification and coal-water fuel production,” he said during the meeting with Li Jiping, Vice President of the China Development Bank, reports China Daily.
China is not only open to the opportunity to share its technology with Ukraine but is also ready to provide a USD 3.5 billion loan to help Ukraine switch its plants from gas to coal, states China Daily.
Before the introduction of the industrial-scale production of natural gas, coal gasification was used to provide municipal lighting and heat. Original technology was associated with a vast list of environmental concerns, including soil and groundwater contamination with poisonous byproducts.
Nowadays, “coal gasification offers one of the most versatile and clean ways to convert coal into electricity, hydrogen and other valuable energy products,” said George Muntean, the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, as quoted by sciencedaily.com. Coal gasification does not involve burning coal, the rock is broken down using high temperature and pressure instead. This technology allows for easier extraction of carbon dioxide from a gas stream.
Another option for Ukraine would be to use coal-water slurry fuel, sometimes referred to as coal-in-water or CWS, instead of oil and gas at heating and power stations. The fuel is a mixture of coal and water. The use of CWS allows to reduce emissions in the atmosphere by 20 to 35 percent. Reportedly, such fuel is explosion-proof. Moreover, the price of CWS may be 30 to 70 percent lower than that of oil or gas due to the geographical locations of oil and gas fields.
Interestingly, in 2011 Ukraine increased domestic coal production by 8.8 percent compared to 2010, reported Bloomberg, reaching 81.8 million tons. For the first time since 2000 the country reached such high levels of coal production.
Scaled-up investment caused such coal production boost, informed Ukrainian Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Yuriy Boyko. Additional funding allocation led to modernization of the coal industry of Ukraine, raising its efficiency. Notably, investment into the coal industry of Ukraine upped by 8 percent in 2011 reaching USD 210 million.