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article imageChina to explore combustible ice

By Wang Fangqing     Mar 7, 2010 in Business
Beijing - China's aggressive development in the clean energy industry has reached a new resource - combustible ice, a hot topic at the on-going annual session of National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature.
About one-quarter of China's total reserves of combustible ice were discovered on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Qinhai province, in September 2009, and the western province is expecting increasing excavations in the following years, said provincial governor Luo Huining on Saturday.
He said the local government is planning to allow large energy companies to tap the new resource while minimizing the damages to the ecological system, reports Xinhua.
As a natural gas hydrate, one cubic meter of combustible ice equals to 164 cubic meter of regular natural gas. In addition, since the "ice" contains little impurities, it causes negligible pollutants when burned.
"Qinghai has just started the exploration, but the key problem is that we still do not have the correct technologies," he said.
Mining the "ice" could cause geological disasters, such as slumping, according to scientists. Also, it will cause the emission of large amounts of methane gas, which aggravates global warming.
The “ice” reserves on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau are estimated to equal at least 35 billion tonnes of oil, which could supply energy to China for 90 years.
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