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Diesel power: China's energy base seeks transformation

(Xinhua)

09:22, March 14, 2012

BEIJING, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Coal-rich Inner Mongolia autonomous region in north China is seeking to process some of its huge amount of raw coal into diesel or electricity to add value to the resources and assist with the pressing task of environmental protection.

"The resources will dry up one day no matter how many we have now. We must find ways to free ourselves from the reliance on resources for our sustainable development," said Hu Chunhua, Communist Party chief of Inner Mongolia.

Inner Mongolia, with its estimated 700 billion tonnes of coal reserves, is China's burgeoning coal base, churning out more than one quarter of the country's coal output.

In 2011, over 60 percent of its 1 billion tonnes of coal production were channeled through land transportation to energy-thirsty areas like northeastern and central China as well as Beijing and Tianjin.

The heavy task of shipping coal out of Inner Mongolia has posed a challenge to land transportation. In September 2010, the Beijing-Tibet highway experienced traffic jams of up to 100 km in length as the road was clogged by huge numbers of coal-hauling vehicles.

"It is inefficient to transport coal to all over the country with diesel-driven trucks. So we must convert the coal to high-efficiency energy forms before sending it out," said Liang Tiecheng, director of the Inner Mongolia Development and Reform Commission.

China's central government has decided to build Inner Mongolia into an "energy base" and a "new-type chemical industry base" so as to give full play to its advantages in coal and non-ferrous metals and realize the transformation of its low-efficiency resources to more efficient forms like diesel or electricity locally.

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