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New gas-fired power plant for China's 'smog city'
Updated: 2004-03-21 10:02

China has approved a feasibility study plan on construction of a power plant fueled by natural gas and steam in Lanzhou City, once known as "smog city" for its heavy air pollution.

The project is expected to commence at the end of this year and will start commercial operation in 2007.

It will be a joint venture between the Meiya (Lanzhou) Power Co. Ltd. and three foreign firms including the Asian Infrastructure Fund. As the largest sino-foreign joint venture, the project is to cost 2.8 billion yuan (US$337 million).

The Meiya Power Plant will be equipped with a 600,000-kw generator fueled by gas coming through a gas pipeline leading to Sebei Gasfield.

The power plant is expected to produce three billion kwh of electricity annually. The surplus heat will be transmitted to a central heating network for winter heating on 8.6 million square meters in eastern Lanzhou.

Operation of the project will lead to closure of 334 coal-fired boilers, resulting in the reduction of the discharge volume of smoke and dust by 18,600 tons and sulfur dioxide by 3,600 tons annually.

This is a significant air pollution control measure for Lanzhou, known as China's "invisible city". Lanzhou's average pollution indicator during the winter of 1998 was 423. It dropped to 294 in 1999, and down further to 238 in 2000. China classifies air quality in the country into five levels. Pollution readings above 300 are classified as Level V, or hazardous, the most serious pollution category.

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