12 April 2018

Experts of the KEF discussed how to improve the efficiency of the coal industry

In their view, Russia's coal power industry needs modernisation, and has no other alternative.

Russia's coal power industry requires modernisation, and has no other alternative. This conclusion was drawn by participants of the round table ‘The Future Of The Coal Energy In The Context Of The Paris Climate Change Agreement’, held at the Krasnoyarsk Economic Forum (KEF) on Thursday.

The Paris Climate Change Agreement, signed in 2015, provides for the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. One of the main sources of these emissions is industrial coal combustion. Russia has not yet ratified the agreement.

Mikhail Vasilyev, Director of the Centre for the Coordination of Development and Partnership Programmes of Siberian Federal University (SFU), noted that the Krasnoyarsk region and Siberia in general have large coal deposits. 

‘The energy component of reserves is important, just like a hundred years ago, and will be important in another one hundred years’, he stressed.

According to Valery Kryukov, Head of the Institute of Economics and Industrial Engineering of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Siberian Branch, we should understand that ‘our development is directly linked to raw materials, energy and coal’, from which there is no alternative. Based on this situation, it is necessary to transform the economy and adapt to the modern reality.

Sergey Islyamov, Head of SibNIIugleobogaschenie (part of SUEK), called Siberian brown coal ‘a gift of nature, which we have never learnt to use’. ‘We resort to old-fashioned methods. Ferrous metallurgy is second only to the power generation sector in terms of emissions, and the blast-furnace process was created at the end of the 17th century ... Little has changed over the centuries’, he said.

Secrets of change

According to Islyamov, brown coal should be gasified, i.e. processed with the generation of gas fuel and thermal coke. In this case, its use is comparable to the use of liquid fuel; emissions are 40% lower than when burning standard coal.

Sergey Stepanov, Director of the Krasnoyarsk-based Termokoks LLC, pointed out that transferring the city's thermal power plants from coal to natural gas, which was considered as one of the mechanisms for solving environmental problems in Krasnoyarsk, would indeed solve the problem of the ‘black sky’, but this would be followed by an increase in energy tariffs and job cuts in the coal sector. At the same time, the use of new technologies in the coal industry could offer new opportunities.

At the round table, experts noted that ‘with proper use, our Kansk-Achinsk coal basin is comparable (in terms of economic benefit) to the largest oil and gas fields’.

The Krasnoyarsk Economic Forum was held 12 to 14 April. Its main topic was ‘Russia 2018-2024: Fulfilling Potential’. TASS acts as the strategic information partner of the forum.

Source: TASS
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