• 85
Image illustrates sources of energy generation within China in 2008

We've heard this same story several times before, but it's worth mentioning yet again. We have here another study that points to the fact that widespread adoption of electric vehicles (EV) could actually increase greenhouse-gas emissions rather than reduce them as we had hoped. This study, conducted by the Argonne National Laboratory and China's Tsinghua University, specifically focuses on China and concludes that mass EV adoption could lead to tremendously higher emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide due to the country's widespread use of coal as a power source.

Here's the skinny from the study:
  • China currently utilizes Euro III emission standards throughout much of the nation, though Euro IV is in use in some larger cities and will slowly replace the older standard within ten years. If charged by the current coal-heavy electrical mix displayed in the table above, EVs would double the nitrogen oxide emissions of Euro III gasoline vehicles.
  • EVs will not reduce carbon dioxide emissions in China unless coal technologies are improved upon or a shift towards cleaner power generation occurs in the future.
  • Mass adoption of EVs in China will cause sulfur dioxide emissions to increase by three to ten times the current level. Even advanced technologies such as coal washing cannot reduce sulfur dioxide emissions of EVs down to gasoline-powered vehicle levels.
While this study takes into account the emissions created while generating electricity for EVs, it fails to include the emissions created by extracting, transporting and refining crude oil, which actually makes the comparison between emissions from EVs and gasoline-powered vehicles unfair from the get-go, right?

[Source: Environmental Science and Technology]


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 85 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      The study also fails to take into account non-emission benefits such as decreasing trade deficits (although this is not really an issue for China), not propping up foreign dictatorships and being able to spend oil subsidies on other things.

      It's also worth mentioning the fact that once people have electric cars, they can use electricity generated by ANY method. So as time goes by and China's electricity system gets cleaner, EVs will automatically benefit without their owners having to buy new cars.

      So while it may not be as clean in the short term (which I personally disagree with), it's definitely cleaner in the long term.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Co2 seems to be about even (what I expect from coal). But nox and so2 is significantly higher (although scrubbing and an acid rain program similar to the US will decrease it somewhat).

      That is kind of the worrisome thing about China, which uses old coal plants (the newer combined cycle plants used in the US would go a long way to address the problem). However, coal is still not an ideal source. China will have to find alternatives to coal (this is crucial even without EVs). It seems they are already installing larger, more efficient, combined cycle plants and switching the mix to more natural gas (which is drastically cleaner).
      http://www.eia.doe.gov/cabs/China/Electricity.html

      However, there is something that is very different about China, which is that they are very open to the NEVs and electric bikes/mopeds (growing way faster in number than more expensive BEV cars). The energy consumption of these types of EVs are drastically lower than your typical car, and in terms of emissions, EVs should compare favorably to similar vehicles powered by gasoline (even on a coal heavy grid).

      Also if you have ever been to a major city in China, the smog problem is huge; EVs should help reduce local pollution.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Good link... it's a must read.
      • 4 Years Ago
      (LTAW) Hey guys, what's going on?

      - Oh, just another study claiming BEVs aren't the ultimate solution, and that their immediate and widespread adoption might be more harmful than we'd like to admit.

      (LTAW) Ok, good luck with that. The rest of us are happy to support other technologies that can be introduced in the meantime, and that will help get us to our goal or reducing CO2 and GHG levels. Like more efficient ICEs, alternative biofuels, and maybe even some hydrogen - you know, because HFCVs powered by SMR release fewer GHGs and less CO2 than BEVs powered by coal.

      - No, that's ok. We'd rather continue to bash the experts, the manufacturers, the governmental organizations - oh, and the media too, esp. that meanie Eric Loveday.

      (LTAW) Well, have fun guys. These studies seem to all back each other up, so they don't really need me here.
        • 4 Years Ago
        BEVs would indeed be cleaner than FCVs using SMR - if they were powered by 100% gas-fired plants. However, that is about as likely as the Chinese grid changing to 100% renewables...

        The Chinese would have to add many gas-fired plants to even approach the percentages that we haev in the US and UK grids. The coal percentages would have to drop from where there are (from 98% to 65% based on the chart above), and I'll allow you to do the math to figure out how many gas-fired plants would haev to be built in order to alter those percentages.

        Or, they could just move into using on-site SMR, which is a whole lot cheaper and quicker to implement. On-site SMR would still be cleaner than BEVs charged from a grid that was as clean as here in the US - an as World-citizen nicely points out, the Chinesse are so far away from that goal...

        Natural gas would be a great way to move forward, whether as NGVs, or on-site SMR for hydrogen FCVs, or even maybe in microturbines for BEVs. All three processes move the ball forward towards a solution for Chinas automotive fleet.

        The Chinese are already making progress with a combined effort pushing HFCVs, AFVs, and BEVs.

        http://www.idrc.ca/en/ev-132182-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html

        I do apologize for your banging your head on the wall, but you have no one to blame but yourself. One day you'll realize that BEVs, FCVs, advanced ICEs, and AFVs are *all* part of the solution.
        • 4 Years Ago
        And remember that we aren't talking about US coal plants. These are Chinese coal plants that have no environmental controls to speak of (none at all that I know of actually).

        So you are trying to use the transitive property to somehow invalidate the many, many times it has been shown that HERE IN THE US even 100% coal powered BEVs are indeed less polluting than ICE vehicles. That's comparing BEV+coal to tailpipe only so Plant to Wheels versus Gas Tank to Wheels in an ICE.

        China has already seen the error of its ways and "has been building new ultra-supercritical coal plants (~44% efficiency), while the United States has only gone as far [as] supercritical (40%). While the average efficiency of the coal fleet in China remains less than that of the US, it is rising and is thought will soon surpass US, and China has required companies building new plants to retire an old plant for every new one built.[60]"
        (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coal_power_in_China#Carbon_footprint )

        I'd like to see them publish the assumptions this study made about emissions for the coal supply stream versus the gasoline supply stream, well to wheels.

        And China has about 90 geologic formations suitable for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) with properties that make it cost only half what it would in the US.
        "Report: China could cheaply control coal-plant emissions"
        (source: http://www.usatoday.com/weather/climate/globalwarming/2009-10-14-china-carbon-emissions_N.htm )
        • 4 Years Ago
        "LTAW, do me a favor, please. Forget about EVs, or gas, or ethanol/alcohol or anything else for a second. Explain to me why a SMR fueled FCV is superior to a plain-jane NATURAL GAS powered vehicle."

        You think I don't like NGVs? I don't know where you got that idea, unless you're making assumptions based on my support for FCVs. In my post above, I agreed that NGVs would indeed be a fine alternative.

        "Natural gas would be a great way to move forward, whether as NGVs, or on-site SMR for hydrogen FCVs, or even maybe in microturbines for BEVs. All three processes move the ball forward towards a solution for Chinas automotive fleet."

        I'm *not* trying to say FCVs are the single best solution. Just that they are a part of the solution.

        Posterboy, you seem to be fine with the idea of NGVs, and I can support your viewpoint. Interestingly enough, NGV emissions can be further improved when the nat gas is blended with up to 30% hydrogen - a technology that Fiat and others are pursuing.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "You have just admitted that cleaner emissions can be achieved by using Battery Electric Vehicles powered by electricity from 100% Natural Gas power plants..."

        That's funny - I don't seem to ever remember arguing that FCVs *were* cleaner than BEVs powered by natural gas-fired plants. I've consistently argued that SMR was cleaner than the current US grid mix powered BEVs, and that both FCVs and BEVs have the potential to be powered with renewable sources and emit *nothing*. But, if you feel the need to somehow have caught me in a contradiction, feel free...

        "*and a simple mandate can ensure that BEV chargers pay money directed toward natural gas power generation*"

        If you want to try to enact that into law, feel free. Somehow, I don't think that will sit well with certain demographics.

        "Actually, they only need to build gas-fired plant capacity as quickly as BEV adoption."

        Pity they're not doing that. You yourself admit that they are building coal powered plants to meet the demand - which kind of destroys your whole argument. More electricity demand for BEVs = more coal powered plants built.

        "So approximately 1,000,000 new EVs per year could be supported by China building 10 power plants per year. They are already building Coal faster than that."

        ____NEWS FLASH_____

        "I have always admitted (at the end of our discussions) that FCVs DO have a part to play in the solution. Just not an equal part with BEVs... Long haul trucking maybe, a few niche markets here and there.

        Gaps in market demand that cannot be filled in by 200 mile BEVs, PHEVs, and NGVs.... will be where Hydrogen fuel cells can thrive. But that leaves very little room for HFCVs. SOFCs and DMFCVs have a better chance, but they need more development."

        Cool. Great. Awesome even. Stop wetting your pants every time I express enthusiasm for FCVs. You admit that they will play a role, which is all I've ever claimed.
        • 4 Years Ago
        per WorldcitizenUSA:
        "Documenting that China's coal plants have zero environmental controls:
        "There are filters available that can cut smokestack emissions by 95 percent, but the government has been unable to get local leaders to pay for them or other Western technologies that could clean up power stations."

        per Wikipedia:
        "Foreign aid to the People's Republic of China takes the form of both bilateral and multilateral official development assistance and official aid to individual recipients.

        In 2001 it received US$1.4 billion in such disbursements, or about US$1.10 per capita. This total was down from the 1999 figures of US$2.4 billion and US$1.90 per capita. In 2003 China received US$1.3 billion in such disbursements, or about US$1 per capita."

        Ever wonder why we just don't freaking buy pollution control equipment and send it over to them instead of sending money in foreign aid? Talk about wanting to bang your head against the wall sometimes.
        • 4 Years Ago
        ""You have to admit, that in this case specifically, using SMR produced hydrogen to run FCVs would be cleaner than the BEVs run using juice from the coal-fired plants.""


        **bangs head against wall**

        I will admit to that.. if you would stop ignoring the dozens of times I have stated...

        "If you have Natural Gas to use in SMR, you have natural gas to use in power plants for electricity.

        And BEVs powered by Natural Gas "release fewer GHGs and less CO2 than" than HFCVs powered by SMR."

        -----

        So, if China has the Natural Gas to use in SMR, then it is better for them to use the Natural Gas as part of their solution along with BEVs!

        A simple law that required BEVs to be only powered by 100% NG or better would do the trick.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Reading some of your earlier comments, I'm glad to see that this article did take into account full WTW emissions when comparing gasoline ICEs and BEVs powered by the predominantly coal-fired electric generating stations.

        You have to admit, that in this case specifically, using SMR produced hydrogen to run FCVs would be cleaner than the BEVs run using juice from the coal-fired plants.

        Simply put, if you want to clean up China quickly, FCVs are the better choice. BEVs might work better where the grid is cleaner, but in China, BEVs would only exacerbate the pollution.

        That's why I support a range of potential technologies. FCVs would work better in China, and BEVs would work better in other places. The RAE report seemed to prefer biofuels in improved ICEs for the UK.

        Maybe by 2050 or beyond we'll have the renewable capability to power everyone with BEVs, but until then we've got to use other technologies as well.
        • 4 Years Ago
        ""letstakeawalk
        5:14pm (5/31/2010)

        BEVs would indeed be cleaner than FCVs using SMR - if they were powered by 100% gas-fired plants. However, that is about as likely as the Chinese grid changing to 100% renewables...""

        Thank you... since the US grid already has the Natural Gas capacity for millions of BEVs...

        You have just admitted that cleaner emissions can be achieved by using Battery Electric Vehicles powered by electricity from 100% Natural Gas power plants.... rather than even the "most efficient" method of making hydrogen, 100% SMR of the same amount of Natural Gas.

        *and a simple mandate can ensure that BEV chargers pay money directed toward natural gas power generation*


        ---------------------------------------------

        In other news... China.

        "The Chinese would have to add many gas-fired plants to even approach the percentages that we haev in the US and UK grids" -LTAW

        Actually, they only need to build gas-fired plant capacity as quickly as BEV adoption.

        That is the whole point of the report... that the increased consumption of electricity due to widespread adoption of EVs will have to be powered by something.

        A medium sized 1000MW gas-fired plant even only running 8 hours a day (33% capacity), will provide 2890800 Mwh per year. Even after a 10% loss of transmission (not likely since China's population is concentrated in major cities).. that's 289080 Mwh per year.

        BEVs driving 12,000 miles per year and getting 250 wh/mile will consume 3000 kwh/yr.
        96,360 BEVs can be powered by every new gas-fired plant they build.

        So approximately 1,000,000 new EVs per year could be supported by China building 10 power plants per year. They are already building Coal faster than that.
        http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0Ai4b2-v971MwdGFJR0FCV2RQczZlQTh0eDZyeHZYV2c&hl=en

        --------------

        "One day you'll realize that BEVs, FCVs, advanced ICEs, and AFVs are *all* part of the solution."

        I have always admitted (at the end of our discussions) that FCVs DO have a part to play in the solution. Just not an equal part with BEVs... Long haul trucking maybe, a few niche markets here and there.

        Gaps in market demand that cannot be filled in by 200 mile BEVs, PHEVs, and NGVs.... will be where Hydrogen fuel cells can thrive. But that leaves very little room for HFCVs. SOFCs and DMFCVs have a better chance, but they need more development.

        BEVs and PHEVs will form the bedrock of personal transportation. FCVs will be there, but just as niche vehicles where infrastructure needs, higher fuel costs, and higher vehicle prices are not a problem... and longer range is commercially required.
        • 4 Years Ago
        And that again is our resident hydrogen shill

        ----------------------

        ""another study claiming BEVs aren't the ultimate solution""

        This study does NOT make the argument that "BEVs aren't the ultimate solution"... that was the last study... and everyone agreed. Why they bothered to publish a study about the obvious? Nobody knows.

        ""their immediate and widespread adoption might be more harmful than we'd like to admit.""

        "immediate" adoption of millions of EVs are IMPOSSIBLE! What a lovely strawman they have built.

        ---------------

        ""you know, because HFCVs powered by SMR release fewer GHGs and less CO2 than BEVs powered by coal" --Typical hydrogen lobby underhanded statement

        Yet you ignore the logic:

        If you have Natural Gas to use in SMR, you have natural gas to use in power plants for electricity.

        And BEVs powered by Natural Gas "release fewer GHGs and less CO2 than" than HFCVs powered by SMR.



        --------------------
        And we do not "bash" the experts, the manufacturers and GOs... half of them say that BEVs are good, the other half say they are bad. They are NOT in agreement. There are still many powerful companies that would like to see BEVs fail. Either to continue to sell oil... or to start selling hydrogen.

        If you think that these people don't have an agenda, then you are naive. It doesn't have to be illegal or evil, but it IS self-preservation of corporate profits.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Documenting that China's coal plants have zero environmental controls:
        "There are filters available that can cut smokestack emissions by 95 percent, but the government has been unable to get local leaders to pay for them or other Western technologies that could clean up power stations."
        (source: http://www.naturalnews.com/021386_emissions_coal.html )
        • 4 Years Ago
        Or, if they had natural gas to burn, they could just start driving natural gas powered vehicles (like the currently available ~$25,000 Honda Civic GX) INSTEAD of wasting a bunch of energy to convert the natural gas into hydrogen and using in in a much more expensive Honda FCX Clarity.

        LTAW, do me a favor, please. Forget about EVs, or gas, or ethanol/alcohol or anything else for a second. Explain to me why a SMR fueled FCV is superior to a plain-jane NATURAL GAS powered vehicle. I've asked for a "greenlings" on this, but no one seems up to the challenge. To me, it appears since converting natural gas to hydrogen, takes energy, a FCV vehcile will always be inherently less efficient than a natural gas powered one. Can you prove that false for me, because until I see FCV as superior to straight natural gas, I will eternally fail to see the point of FCV.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You have consistently "ignored" every time I state that BEVs beat FCVs when using the same source. I feel a bit victorious yes... that you finally acknowledge it instead of ignoring.

        Yes both BEVs and FCVs can have Natural Gas as a source fuel... and BEVs beat out FCVs... Both can be fueled from renewables too.. and BEVs beat out FCVs 3 times.

        The only argument you have been pushing is running HFCVs using a Natural Gas yet you don't believe that Natural Gas is going to power BEVs. But only the current mix.

        -----------

        "If you want to try to enact that into law, feel free. Somehow, I don't think that will sit well with certain demographics. "

        However, pushing FCVs would mean spending billions on a hydrogen infrastructure... and then increasing natural gas consumption (for SMR) in the same amount, or higher... than what BEVs would use.

        My point is that for every FCV that could fuel up with hydrogen from Natural Gas... there exists a BEV that can get its power from that same amount of natural gas... and be cleaner and cheaper doing it.

        Talk to your utility company, many of them will switch you to renewable power (if available) for only $0.02 or $0.03 more per kwh. Natural Gas is cheaper than wind or solar. So it would wind up costing mabye 1 or 2 cents extra per kwh.

        ----------

        Depending on your state... http://www.getenergyactive.org/fuel/state.htm

        BEVs on grid power are already the cleanest, cheapest option. For other states using a lot of coal... CNG vehicles are probably the next best thing

        --------------

        ""Stop wetting your pants every time I express enthusiasm for FCVs. You admit that they will play a role, which is all I've ever claimed.""

        LTAW, you're the one that trolls the blogs that have NOTHING to do with Hydrogen waiting for any opportunity to spout off hydrogen lobby rhetoric. If anybody is getting wet, it is you. The last few articles that were simply discussing coal and BEVs, you had to promote your investment in FCVs.

        -----------------

        We both have "always" agreed that HFCVs will play a role... what we disagree on, is the significance and specific markets.

        I believe that HFCVs will find themselves locked out of the passenger vehicle market by the time automakers start making them in quantity (begins whenever oil companies build "significant density" of hydrogen fueling stations). They will be left without a chair by BEVs and PHEVs (and the remaining ICEVs). And that the expense of the vehicle and the expense of the fuel make hydrogen vehicles only attractive to commercial ventures with strict emissions standards.

        -----------

      • 4 Years Ago
      This is just another example of the oil industry spending 100's of millions of dollars, for anything that would force them to Diversify into a Clean Technology and Make Money a Different Way.

      We've lost control of the oil industry through our 401K Mutual fund system, whereby we get NO VOTE on the direction of the Company, leaving it to Wall Street to demand oil really make NO INVESTMENT in Future Technology.

        • 4 Years Ago
        This comment got lost in the throng but you still deserve a thumbs-up for that!

        So... Thumbs-Up Mr. Mike! You succinctly got to the root of all the problems with America today: companies are driven by short term profit alone, no other consideration. This is the perfect recipe for disaster. Oh, wait. We already had that yet we're still following the exact same course as before.

        What needs to happen in order to pound some sense into this society?
      • 4 Years Ago
      They forgot to mention air pollution from the vehicles, has anyone ever been to a large mass populated industrial town in china? I went to guangzhou years ago, I could barely breath in summer time, anyone else remember the beijing olympics and the traffic pollution there? Again this problem is never mentioned, yet it costs hundreds of millions if not billions to treat and causes countless avoidable deaths.

      Again another study with miscalculations, well to wheel is not accounted for.
      It's also easier to retrofit tech and clean up coal power plant emissions. Sequestration is a possibility, an untested possibility but it's there.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @neptronix
        Coincidentally in the sunday times yesterday there was an interesting article about cyclists and traffic pollution...my initial estimate of hundreds of millions of pounds and thousands of lives was way off...Amongst it was some interesting tid bits of info for the u.k
        50,000 premature deaths from air pollution, £20billion spent on health costs.(atmospheric environment journal)
        Diesel particulates are so small they they accumulate in the lungs. An epidemiology study soon to be released, will show high levels of exposure to nanoparticles the sort given from diesel engines, are associated with higher levels of heart disease.
        • 4 Years Ago
        What's funny is that they shut down all the factories in the area and told people they had to drive less, a week or two before the olympics.

        And it was still that bad :P
      • 4 Years Ago
      Not just China...

      OT: Greenpeace Germany has stopped supporting EV's. They are not the panacea, just a bloody waste of money.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Greenpeace.

        The coal industry's best invention.

        What a joke they are.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Didn't know you would take it personally :-)
        • 4 Years Ago
        Greenpeace??

        You mean those mathematically challenged zealots who would burn 100 gallons of diesel fuel to save 1 whale?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Greenpeace are a waste of space, who will distort any figure to support their prejudices.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Few things to consider. The following is for US - but most of the points hold good for China as well.

      - This whole "coal" plants is besically a talking point used by various groups interested in prolonging the status quo
      - In the long term we need clean grid
      - In the long term we need EVs
      - To Reduce emissions we need to transition to EVs AND transition out of coal. Since these transitions take a long time, we can't wait for full coal transition to occur before EV transition. We need to start both now.
      - The EVs get the benefit of cleaning up of the grid right away without any further capital or time costs.
      - EVs help to reduce oil consumption directly
      - Even with the current 50% average grid powered by coal, EVs are better than most of the cars, if not the most frugal. But it is better to transition now to EV rather than to a frugal car - only to have to transition away again later.
      - Since in the long term we need to move to EVs, we need to get the industry started and get the infrastructure setup. Only by selling commcial EVs can the economies of scale kick in and start reducing cost of EVs.
      - There are some 250 million cars in US. Last year car sales sales 10 million. So even if every car sold from next yeat is an EV - it will still take decades to replace the fleet.
      - Every year more renewable generation capacity is being added than can be used by EVs in the next decade or so i.e. renewable power generation transition is outpacing EV transition by a large amount.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "While this study takes into account the emissions created while generating electricity for EVs, it fails to include the emissions created by extracting, transporting and refining crude oil, which actually makes the comparison between emissions from EVs and gasoline-powered vehicles unfair from the get-go, right? "

      This is one of the few studies that actually calculated the full "fuel-life cycle" (WTW).

      So, ABG got it wrong again.

      Where was their skepticism when others studies called BEVs dirtier than gas cars regarding the US and UK, which have substaintially less percentage of coal than China does. And that were comparing the Well-to-Wheels of BEVs to the Tank-to-Wheels of ICEVs.

      Too little too late.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Given that the range issue can be conquered the EV wins and here is the simple reason why.
      An EV is about a propulsion system and not a fuel system.
      The 'fuel' is fully modular.

      It can be coal or nuculer (if your GW) or hydro or geo-thermal or solar or wind or... any other damned thing.
      ICE is one thing - drill for petroleum in a fashion so complex it can typically only be done on an industrial level, and transport it to the car.

      Some individuals are lucky enough to own natural gas wells on thier own property and so and ICE that burns it is great for them.
      But lots of individuals should be able to afford solar or wind going forward - as long as the research keeps up to improve efficiency of actual use and also production of the equipment.


      • 4 Years Ago
      I think what people need to understand about this latest report:

      1) The title should read: "Mass adoption of EVs in China "COULD" lead to "SOME" higher emissions [of NOx and SO2]"

      --- that is what the Report "actually" said

      2) Even with China's growth, they have 20 years before a sufficient increase in emissions can be attributed to EV adoption.

      Many reports show China is already well on its way to reducing emissions.

      3) EVs are a convenient scapegoat for blame that rightfully belongs to Coal power generation specifically. EVs can, should, and will eventually be powered by other sources. Blaming EVs for emissions they do not directly cause is counterproductive.
      harlanx6
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is the kind of crap we are subjected to on nearly a daily basis. Not only is China planning on using EVs, they are planning on spending a lot of resources on renewable energy. Those projections were not even considered. It's typical junk science to shore up someones tired agenda. Where is the criticism from the media? To accept this at face value makes the media part of the problem, not part of the solution.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        "This is the kind of crap we are subjected to on nearly a daily basis. Not only is China planning on using EVs, they are planning on spending a lot of resources on renewable energy. Those projections were not even considered."

        It was considered in the report... however ...

        ""Numerous
        studies worldwide have made projections of the future
        options for power supply in China. EIA and the International
        Energy Agency (IEA) projected that coal would remain the
        predominant fuel in generation, and 78-81% of electricity
        used would be drawn from coal by 2030 (17, 18). Domestic
        institutes are more optimistic on this issue, and they project
        that the share of coal power could be reduced to 72% by 2030
        (16) or an even more ambitious target -65% by 2020 (23).""

        --------------------

        It depends on which study they "cherry-picked" to make their point. If a report wants to make China look bad in 2030... then pick a study that shows 81% coal use in 2030. Looking at the source documents... the studies from the US agencies show high coal use... while Chinese agencies are more optimistic, and show much lower coal use by 2030.

        Bottomline... the error bars are too wide. 20 years of projections cannot tell us what will happen. By the time BEVs are driven in any significant number, the grid will change in unpredictable ways.

        As long is this is NOT a plea for people not to buy BEVs, but only a plea to buy BEVs but ALSO clean up power plants.
        harlanx6
        • 4 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        The bottom line is you can't predict the future. China is likely to do what is in their best interest (as we would), and it is in their best interest to clean up their environment as funds and technologies come available that make it possible. There is no way they can satisfy the greenie weinies who want everything now without consideration the economic consequences.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        ""China’s coal imports started growing after 2002 because imported coal prices including transportation became competitive with domestic production prices and the coal industry suffers from frequent bottlenecks in transmission to consumer markets. In the next five to ten years, China could become a net coal importer according to some projections.""

        http://www.eia.doe.gov/cabs/China/Coal.html

        As I said, US agencies believe otherwise. They may believe that Coal prices will continue to be the lowest priced power plant fuel well into 2030... and that China will actually increase their coal percentage for electricity generation.

        --------

        I think that the world energy markets are too unpredictable to speculate even for the next 5 years... let alone 20 years.

        But that is what these people get paid to do, make predictions based on available data. And as chaos theory shows... with such a complex system, accurate prediction is not possible that far ahead. This is also why weather forecasting is limited to about 5 days... because weather is a complex system with more unknown variables than known.

        The farther out they try to predict, the more variability in the prediction. It does stop them from trying though. And it does stop those with an agenda from cherry-picking the most pessimistic extreme prediction to base a report on. And then declare that EVs are bad for the environment.
        harlanx6
        • 4 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        By only publishing what agrees with their preconceived beliefs they contribute to the cacaphony of misinformation we have to sort through to come to a rational conclusion. It is a form of deception, not significantly different from spinning or out and out lying. It makes us cynical. We and the Chinese are going to work out our energy problems because we have no choice. To fail would send us back to the stone age.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        Joe,
        The coal projections are made by assessing demand, and assuming supply will meet it.
        That is the way they used to do oil supply projections, but it became a bit too rank even for the powers that be, so the latest one was on a ground up basis - surprise, surprise, they found a lot less than they assumed before.
        The only ways that the Chinese might be able to keep going longer on coal is by using the cola bed gasification they are experimenting with, but a compound increase rate of 10% burns through almost any resource increase pretty fast, unless you are talking about really huge ones like nuclear and solar.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        Joe,
        Since China already consumes around 2.4% pa of it's coal reserves, around 3 times the tonnage of the US! - and the projections are that it will need to be using twice or three times as much by 2020, not only are the Chinese likely to be right when they say that the proportion of coal use will be much lower by 2030, there simply is not the coal for it to be otherwise.
        It is not 'anyone's guess' whose estimate of coal use will prove correct.
        The growth of Chinese use must decrease due to hard physical limits.
      • 4 Years Ago
      One aspect I haven't heard mentioned yet: Coal is domestic for China, while oil is imported. The Chinese don't like sending their money out of the country if they can help it. It's also a national secuity issue for them (as it is for anyone that imports their energy).

      I seriously suspect these are the real motivators behind China's EV push - the green angle is just a snow job and a good PR opportunity not to be wasted.
        • 4 Years Ago
        One of the primary assumptions for this report by Argonne National Labs (ANL) is that even in 2030, coal will make up 76% - 81% of China's grid mix.

        Even though the Chinese claim that coal will be down to 65% by 2020 and lower by 2030... they are using predictions made the US DOE

        ""hina’s coal imports started growing after 2002 because imported coal prices including transportation became competitive with domestic production prices and the coal industry suffers from frequent bottlenecks in transmission to consumer markets. In the next five to ten years, China could become a net coal importer according to some projections.""

        http://www.eia.doe.gov/cabs/China/Coal.html

        ------

        And they seem to think that China will have no problem importing coal if it is cheap enough.
    • Load More Comments