National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), the country's largest oil and gas
producer, has unveiled a biofuels project in Sichuan province.
The company will produce 100,000 tons of biodiesel and 600,000 tons
of ethanol under the project, which draws on a biofuel technology
cooperation agreement between CNPC and four global energy companies,
who unfortunately go unnamed in this China Daily story.
The project is backed by Sichuan's provincial government, which
wasted no time trumpeted the deal as showing how the western province
could become a “role model in clean energy production and consumption”
and presumably steal a lead over other provinces.
Under its current Five Year Plan, China is looking to promote clean
fuels to cut pollution and reduce its traditionally heavy dependence on
imported petroleum, so a bit of regional rivalry may be for the good in
achieving these goals.
China's policy objectives are to produce 12m tons biofuels,
including ethanol and biodiesel, annually by 2020, pushing it up to 15
percent of the nation's transportation fuel use. Current production is
around 1m tons.
Europe in general, and Germany in particular, claim to technology
leaders in biofuels, so China's apparent desire to expand its biofuels
industry creates promising opportunities, delegates were told at a recent biofuel conference in Germany.
These opportunities could come both through technology exports to energy-hungry China and by direct overseas investment.
For more on China's promotion of biofuels see this story on the Biopact website.