“High-energy-consuming industries such as electrolytic aluminum and industrial silicon are relocating from the east and west to the southwest region with abundant hydropower resources. For example, Yunnan has abundant hydropower resources and under the guidance of the green energy strategy, in order to make full use of hydropower, a large number of High-energy-consuming industries such as electrolytic aluminum and industrial silicon.”
On September 11, during the “Beautiful China Forum 2021” with the theme of “Coordinated Reduction of Pollution and Carbon Reduction to Build a Beautiful China”, He Hong, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and deputy director of the Research Center for Ecological Environment of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, accepted the “Every The above statement was made by the reporter of Nikkei News in an interview.
He Hong pointed out that it is necessary to analyze high energy-consuming industries. If renewable energy such as wind power, hydropower, photovoltaic power generation is used, some high-energy-consuming industries can be developed in the southwestern provinces with abundant resources. Energy-consuming projects should be adapted to local conditions.
He Hong further explained that high-energy-consuming industries such as cement, electrolytic aluminum, and industrial silicon should be appropriately concentrated in places with surplus energy in China, and it is possible to form a scale effect, but in this process, it must be based on the current status of local carbon emissions and environmental quality. , Strengthen environmental protection, calculate the total carbon emissions and environmental capacity.
China strives to achieve carbon peaks by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060. During the “14th Five-Year Plan” period, China’s ecological civilization construction has entered a critical period in which carbon reduction is the key strategic direction, the promotion of pollution reduction and carbon reduction synergies, the promotion of green transformation of economic and social development, and the realization of a quantitative change to a qualitative change in the quality of the ecological environment.
Xie Zhenhua, chairman of the forum and China’s special envoy for climate change affairs, said that according to estimates, China’s active climate action can drive more than 130 trillion yuan of investment in the energy, green and low-carbon transition area alone. The market potential is huge, and it can not only reduce the “carbon density” of products. , Improve the quality of economic growth, maintain a competitive advantage in international trade, and solve environmental pollution problems from the source. It is expected to achieve the first-level standard of ambient air quality. The annual average concentration of PM2.5 can reach 15 micrograms/m3, which greatly improves the population. Health level. This is also the endogenous driving force for reducing pollution and carbon by synergistically increasing efficiency and building a beautiful China.
At the same time, Xie Zhenhua said: “In order to ensure the achievement of the carbon peak carbon neutral goal, China has established a carbon peak carbon neutral working group and is formulating a ‘1+N’ policy system.”
Regarding the synergy of pollution reduction and carbon reduction, He Hong told the “Daily Economic News” reporter that China has made great achievements in the prevention and control of air pollution, and the average PM2.5 concentration has dropped rapidly. In the early days, the decrease in PM2.5 concentration was mainly brought about by strengthening coal-fired emission control and drastically reducing the concentration of sulfur dioxide. In recent years, while PM2.5 has fallen, ozone pollution has begun to appear, and the coordinated control of ozone and particulate matter is facing major challenges.
He Hong further explained: “Sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and VOCs are important precursors that cause complex air pollution. Among them, sulfur dioxide mainly comes from coal burning and has been effectively controlled; nitrogen oxides mainly come from coal burning and motor vehicle emissions. Formation of important precursors of PM2.5 and ozone, the control potential is still great; and the emission control of VOCs is a big challenge. On the one hand, VOCs are also related to the burning of fossil fuels, but in addition, there are many other VOCs. Emission sources, such as plant emissions, unorganized emissions from solvent use, etc., are very difficult to manage at the end of these VOCs, and the next step needs to focus on reducing VOCs from the source.”
He Hong said that longer-term pollutant reduction needs to promote synergy in reducing pollution and carbon. From the perspective of air quality changes, under the current air quality standards, the main pollution affecting the number of days in the future is ozone. Our preliminary research shows that, in order to achieve fundamental ozone control, the current more realistic means is to reduce nitrogen oxides in depth. Efforts have been made in this direction, and the deterioration of ozone pollution has been curbed to a certain extent. The goal of carbon neutrality is highly consistent with the goal of air quality improvement. The achievement of the carbon neutral goal will also promote the deep reduction of nitrogen oxides and other precursors, thereby achieving coordinated control of ozone and fine particulate matter.
In the process of promoting synergy in reducing pollution and carbon, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment has repeatedly emphasized that it encourages qualified localities, key industries and key enterprises to reach their peaks, and resolutely curbs the blind launch of high-energy-consuming and high-emission projects.
So, does this mean that the development space for high-energy-consuming projects will be continuously compressed, and may even be gradually replaced? In fact, many places still have the urge to develop high-energy-consuming projects in the process of economic development.
He Hong believes that energy is the driving force of economic development, so the total amount of energy will inevitably increase in economic development. We realize that we are still developing and that the total energy consumption will continue to rise for some time in the future. However, when the total amount of energy is rising, the proportion of fossil energy must be gradually reduced.
“High-energy-consuming industries also require specific analysis. If renewable energy sources such as wind power, hydropower, and photovoltaic power are used, it is also possible to develop some high-energy-consuming industries in the region. For example, in some western regions, photovoltaic power, wind power, and hydropower are used. It can’t be used up, especially in some provinces in the southwest with surplus hydropower. Some high-energy-consuming industries can be appropriately developed in that place, but the eastern part must be strictly restricted.” He Hong said.
At the same time, He Hong emphasized that the promotion of carbon neutrality also needs to be considered in the light of cost constraints. Therefore, when high energy-consuming projects are implemented, local conditions must be adapted to local conditions.
The reporter noted that in recent years, some electrolytic aluminum companies in Shandong, Henan and other places have shifted their production capacity to western regions such as Yunnan.
In this regard, He Hong pointed out that some high-energy-consuming enterprises in the east are now relocating to the west with surplus electricity. For example, Yunnan is accumulating some electrolytic aluminum and polysilicon projects there. However, the environmental protection of the end treatment should be done well. So you have to figure out your own environmental capacity. On this basis, you have a lot of renewable energy, and it is possible to develop some high-energy-consuming industries.
“Technological progress plays a vital role in the promotion of carbon neutrality. Compared with coal power, the cost of clean energy as a whole is still a little higher. For example, the cost of photovoltaic power generation has dropped significantly, but this is only in the power generation link, and the grid is unstable. Peak shaving and energy storage, these are all costs, and this cost must be accounted for to be truly competitive.” He Hong said.
In view of the uneven distribution and use of renewable energy in China, He Hong suggested that in some areas with surplus electricity, make full use of electricity to split water to produce hydrogen. Because hydrogen is difficult to store and transport, hydrogen can be further used with carbon dioxide. The energy is stored when converted into methanol, and methanol can be transported like petroleum. Now these petrochemical infrastructures can be used. This is a relatively low-cost and more realistic approach.
As an expert in the field of diesel vehicle emissions reduction, He Hong took diesel vehicle emissions reduction as an example. Diesel vehicles in many areas are an important source of emissions. If methanol is mixed in, carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced and particulate pollution will be reduced. In a further transition, the user side can also reform methanol to produce hydrogen, which can also promote the development of hydrogen fuel cells.
“If this road is to be completed, I think it is a sustainable development, but there are still some technological breakthroughs here, but the dawn is already ahead.” He Hong said that some demonstration projects have been completed, and some key technical links have been completed. After getting through, what is needed now is to further reduce costs.
In fact, in the process of promoting carbon neutrality, the development of CCUS (Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage) technology has also attracted much attention. Carbon capture technologies such as physical, chemical, biological, and adsorption are all competing.
He Hong believes that at the technical level of carbon capture, the technology at the stage is actually relatively mature, but the common problem now is that the cost is relatively high, and the second-generation technology such as solid ammonia adsorption is also becoming mature and can be further reduced. The cost of carbon capture. However, whether carbon capture technology can be widely promoted depends on the level of cost reduction.
An industry insider once revealed to a reporter from the “Daily Economic News” that the current international cost of carbon capture is generally at the level of US$60 per ton of carbon dioxide, and the promotion of carbon capture technology is facing greater cost pressure.
However, He Hong is more confident in the large-scale promotion and application of carbon capture technology. He believes that with technological breakthroughs and the continuous development of carbon dioxide utilization market space, the cost of carbon dioxide capture will gradually decrease.
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