Hu Yuhong, an official with the China Coal Industry Association, yesterday said she believed the ratio of natural gas will continue to edge up in the years ahead, with projects launched to transfer gas from the country's west to its east and to import the gas from Russia.
But ultimately, coal will remain the major source of energy to fuel China's economy in the decades to come, she said.
With coal occupying such a dominant position in its energy pool, the country has been planning to improve coal use efficiency and has been studying clean coal technology since late 1980s, according to Huang Shengchu, chief of the China Coal Information Institute.
In a speech delivered yesterday in St Petersburg while attending the G8 Summit, President Hu Jintao called for international communities to step up co-operative efforts to develop clean coal technology.
Huang said China had been co-operating with South Africa and the United States in piloting and promoting clean coal technology in China.
Air emissions of sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen associated with coal burning could be significantly reduced by liquefying coal, Huang said.
Hu of the China Coal Industry Association said Shenhua Group, a pioneer in developing the coal liquefaction business in China, had earmarked 25 billion yuan (US$3 billion) for clean coal technology.
Last week, Shenhua signed an agreement with Royal Dutch Shell and South Africa-based Sasol to build two coal liquefaction plants in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in Northwest China.
Producing clean fuels through coal liquefaction is a strategic solution to offsetting the country's shortage of petroleum and balancing the country's energy structure, Cui said in his energy development report.