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China's coal-to-liquids projects buffeted by changing policy, economics (3)
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09:27, April 06, 2009

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Li Yongwang said technology and demand in China had matured enough to support CTL projects. The country had also independently developed direct and indirect CTL technologies.

Li Shuangwang, board chairman of Yitai Group, said the business would continue to run trials and make improvements, given the success of its trial run.

"We'll work to get the production operating stably in September. After that, we will officially turn it into a fully-loaded operation. We will upgrade the equipment and apply new-generation liquefaction technology to lift output to 600,000 tonnes a year.

"If it goes smoothly, we will expand the coal-to-oil base to an annual output of 5 million tonnes in three stages," said Li.

He said the Yitai Group also planned to extend the industrial chain by cracking naphtha from the CTL facility into ethylene, which was a higher value-added product.

The other CTL projects are also moving ahead. Lu'an plans to expand its 160,000-tonne indirect CTL facility into a 3 million-tonne project, if it conducts a successful trial in the near future. Ultimately, it intends to develop a coal-to-oil base with a gross annual output of 15 million tonnes by 2020.

Yanzhou Mining Group and Xuzhou Mining Group, in eastern China, also plan CTL projects.

Yanzhou began work on a 1 million-tonne indirect CTL plant in February 2006 in Yulin City, Shaanxi Province. It has conducted environmental reviews and is awaiting approval from the National Development and Reform, China's top planning agency. The Yanzhou project would have two stages, each with annual output of 5 million tonnes, the group said.

Also, about 10 provinces or autonomous regions, including Xinjiang, Shandong, Shaanxi, Guizhou and Ningxia, are planning CTL projects.

Taking all these plans into account, industry analysts estimate China will have an annual CTL capacity of 30 million tonnes to 50 million tonnes in 2020.

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