While maintaining its fast growth momentum, China’s industrial sector has witnessed a continuous decline in carbon emissions in recent years.
Carbon emission intensity in China had decreased by 48.1 percent in 2019 compared with that in 2005, which exceeded the target of reducing carbon emission intensity by 40 to 45 percent between 2005 and 2020, reversing the trend of rapid carbon dioxide emission growth, according to a white paper titled “Energy in China’s New Era” released by China’s State Council Information Office last December.
Industry is one of the key sectors for reducing carbon emissions in China. Thanks to the country’s efforts to continuously improve top-level design for energy conservation and carbon reduction and establish multi-dimensional and full-coverage low-carbon industrial development systems for different key fields, China has achieved notable results in promoting energy conservation and carbon reduction in its industrial sector.
Studies show that 80 percent of the impacts of products on resources and environment during their whole life cycle depend on their design stage, said an official of the energy conservation and resource utilization department of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).
Promoting eco-friendly design and development for mass-produced products that are widely used, closely related to consumers, and have sufficient conditions is of great significance for the transition of the entire industrial system to low-carbon development, the official stressed, noting that the MIIT has so far recognized 128 demonstration enterprises for green design, which have developed a total of 2,170 products with eco-friendly designs.
In the Circular Economy Industrial Park in Chaoyang district, Beijing, a landfill leachate treatment plant uses three maglev air blowers to blow air continuously into degradation tank to expedite microbial degradation at the bottom of the tank.
Featuring such advantages as less friction, intelligent frequency conversion, and online control, maglev air blowers are over 30 percent more energy efficient than conventional air blowers, according to Xing Lei, an executive of an air blower supplier.
So far, 2,500 sets of the company’s maglev air blowers have been put into use, which can help reduce the consumption of electricity by nearly one billion kWh per year, thus saving the world from nearly 875,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions on an annual basis according to preliminary estimates, Xing said.
China’s efforts to promote energy-saving transformation for existing products have been facilitating innovation in low-carbon technologies in industry.
Over the past five years, China Baowu Steel Group Corporation Limited (China Baowu) has maintained its investment in energy-saving projects and implemented a series of energy conservation-oriented technological transformation projects and energy management projects, according to an executive of China Baowu, who disclosed that the group saved energy equivalent to 881,000 tons of standard coal through technological transformation last year.
Echeng Iron and Steel Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of China Baowu, has made efforts to advance energy conservation-oriented comprehensive transformation in a bid to solve the problem of insufficient use of waste heat during production and optimize the company’s energy system of steelmaking production lines, said the executive.
Through energy conservation projects, the company has managed to make good use of medium and low-temperature waste heat produced during steel and iron production, thus effectively reducing the consumption of coal gas and power.
“Low-carbon technology is an important driving force for reducing total carbon emissions and carbon emission intensity in industry,” said Yu Xiang, deputy director at the office of climate change economics, Research Institute for Eco-civilization, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
In recent years, China’s industrial sector has witnessed rapid development of technologies that help save energy and reduce carbon emissions, Yu said, adding that according to relevant statistics, about 40 percent of the main products of the country’s manufacturing industry are close to or have reached an advanced international level in terms of energy efficiency.
Meanwhile, the country has further raised its level of electrification in industry. Through such measures as replacing coal with electricity for coal-fired industrial boilers and kilns and vigorously promoting the use of electric boilers, China has reduced direct coal consumption and effectively pushed forward with the realization of net zero carbon dioxide emissions during industrial production, Yu pointed out.
“In conventional economic models, carbon emissions are regarded as an external factor of economic growth, while in the future, low-carbon development driven by the carbon neutrality commitment will change such development models,” said Yu.
China’s low-carbon development path will feature economic growth driven by forces including technological innovation, employment growth, and industrial development resulted from reduction in carbon emissions, Yu noted.
It’s believed that while promoting carbon dioxide emission reduction, green development of the industrial sector will become an important driver of China’s economic growth.