China’s western Qinghai Province, containing major deposits of the country’s “combustible ice,” will see increased explorations for this emerging clean energy, Provincial Governor Luo Huining said on Saturday.
The plateau province plans to allow large energy companies along with researchers to tap this new source of energy while minimizing environmental threats, Luo said on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature.
“Combustible ice,” or natural gas hydrate, is mainly found in deep seas and atop plateaus. Approximately one cubic meter of “combustible ice” equals 164 cubic meters of regular natural gas.
At a time of energy bottlenecks, the new energy resource has drawn interest from many countries. Additional attention has focused on the “ice” having a low proportion of impurities, resulting in it generating almost no pollutants when burned.
More than 100 countries around the world have found deposits of “combustible ice.” The deposits in Qinghai Province, home to one-quarter of China’s total reserve on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, were discovered in September 2009.
“Combustible 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.
[Provincial Governor] Luo Huining said tapping this new energy resource should be given high priority in China’s energy strategy.