China is trying to “kill two birds with one stone” by turning agricultural waste into biofuel for cars under a nationwide policy to expand the use of ethanol in petrol announced on Wednesday [13 September 2017]. But some experts said the plan – which aims to reduce smog from burning straw stalks and other agricultural waste as well as cut demand for fossil fuels – might not be as environmentally friendly as it seemed…Full Article: The South China Morning Post Sept 2017

Key Points

  • By 2025, China hopes to significantly increase its cellulose-based ethanol output.
  • The Chinese government has already introduced ethanol in gasoline in 11 provinces, including Guangxi, Jilin, and Liaoning.
  • According to an energy policy specialist at Xiamen University, Fujian Province, as it currently stands there is no financial incentive for farmers to transform their agricultural waste into ethanol due to logistical costs of transporting straw stalks. In addition, oil companies prefer to use corn, as opposed to straw, to produce ethanol because corn is much more efficient.

ChinaAg Comments

  • In January 2017, Shaanxi Yanchang Petroleum and the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ (CAS) Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (Liaoning Province) launched a synthetic ethanol factory that utilizes coal as its feedstock. By 2020, China hopes to have a coal-to-ethanol factory with an annual production capacity of 1 million MTs.
  • In 2016, China produced on average 2.1 million MTs of ethanol fuel annually and had a biomass energy capacity of 10 gigawatts (GW), which was below the target goal of 13 GB by 2015.
  • In October 2016, a Beijing publication stated that the average corn price paid by ethanol companies in Jilin Province was CNY 1,450 (US$217.44) per MT. At the same time, the purchase price paid by ethanol companies in Kaiyuan, Liaoning Province, was CNY 1,570 (~US$233) per MT.
  • In April 2016, a Chinese-financed in sugar mill began operation in Preah Vihear Province, northern Cambodia. In addition to the sugar mill, according to Cambodia’s Industry Minister, factories will be built in 2017 that will eventually produce 50,000 MTs of ethanol (for export to China) and 100,000 MTs of organic fertilizers.
  • In July 2015, DuPont and Jilin Province New Tianlong Industry signed an agreement to build China’s largest cellulosic ethanol manufacturing plant, which is a type of biofuel (i.e. not a fossil fuel like coal, petroleum and natural gas) that is produced from wood, grasses, and other plants such as corn.
  • In 2014, China produced 2.27 million MTs of ethanol fuel. Chinese ethanol production is primarily produced from corn, with some output derived from wheat, cassava, sweet sorghum, and plant cellulose.
  • In June 2014, Shanghai Zhongfu Group (via Kimberley Agricultural Investments) bought a sugar mill in Kununurra, Western Australia. It was noted that even though sugar production was the long term goal of the Ord irrigation scheme, the mill may be used to process sorghum into ethanol. During the same month, China began operating its first sweet sorghum ethanol plant in Inner Mongolia.
  • In 2013, China produced 2.08 million MTs of ethanol fuel.

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