Alt fuels in China set to have 483 billion gallon impact in 2020

China is accelerating its move into alternative-fuel vehicles, goaded to act by urban smog thick enough to make pea soup jealous and hundreds of thousands of deaths every year attributed to pollution. With one prediction that the country's citizens will own more than 200 million cars by 2020, it's vital that every interested party start now on finding new and better ways to power infrastructure and get around.

Lux Research examined the landscape for converting China's massive coal deposits, waste and foodstocks into more sustainable energy options, finding that the country could reduce its gasoline usage by as much as 483 billion gallons by 2020 with alternative fuels. To put that in context, the US Energy Information Administration reported that as of 2013 China consumed 2,250,000 barrels of gasoline per day, equivalent to 94,500,000 gallons. So, assuming Lux Research's gasoline consumption figures match the EIA's and that we're operating on a 42-gallon barrel, China can save itself 5,111 days worth of gasoline usage by moving to alternative fuel.

In the report, titled Guiding Through the Dynamics of China's Alternative Fuels Market, converting coal to ethanol is cited as having the greatest potential in the short-term, converting municipal solid waste to liquid fuel is noted as a long-term play while liquefied natural gas and foodstocks providing additional avenues of benefit for both China and commercial partners. There's a press release on the report below.

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Alternative Fuels in China Can Replace Up to 483 Billion Gallons of Gasoline in 2020

Coal-to-ethanol conversion offers the most potential, as China focuses on limiting imports today and cultivating greener fuels for tomorrow, Lux Research says

BOSTON, MA – April 14, 2015 – China's strategic shift toward alternative fuels in order to cut its reliance on foreign oil is creating huge opportunities, notably in natural gas vehicles (NGVs) and in the conversion of coal to ethanol, according to Lux Research.

The Asian giant bids to reduce foreign oil imports from the current 50% of domestic demand. What's more, its plans to limit coal-fired power plants, on account of growing pollution, means that vast amounts of oversupplied coal are available for conversion to alternative fuels.

"While the opportunity for alternative fuels is vast, the opportunities are diverse – ranging from coal-to-ethanol and natural gas vehicles in the near-term to waste-to-liquids in the long term," said Andrew Soare, Lux Research Senior Analyst and a contributor to the report titled, "Guiding Through the Dynamics of China's Alternative Fuels Market."

"Downstream partnerships with major state-owned energy heavyweights are particularly important for penetrating the transportation and fuel distribution network," he added.

Lux Research analysts evaluated China's alternative fuels landscape to assess opportunities and identified potential domestic partners across diverse feedstocks, technologies and fuels. Among their findings:

- Government programs tap natural gas. China's push toward liquefied natural gas (LNG) has brought new opportunities for players in the fast-rising natural gas vehicle (NGV) market. Initiatives aim at a target fleet of 1 million heavy-duty NGVs, creating the material and device demands for LNG storage and transportation.
- Coal-to-ethanol is on verge of large-scale commercialization. Coal-to-ethanol is a short-term winner on account of the huge quantities of coal available in China. With Chinese energy giants and academic institutes leading research, coal-to-ethanol is poised for large-scale commercialization.
- Renewable resources abound. China has humungous renewable foodstock resources, estimated at 123 billion gallons of gasoline equivalent per year (BGGEY) and fossil resources (coal and natural gas) worth 360 BGGEY by 2020. However, logistical barriers exist, notably in biomass and waste collection.

The report, titled "Guiding Through the Dynamics of China's Alternative Fuels Market," is part of the Lux Research Alternative Fuels Intelligence service.

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