HOHHOT, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) -- The first phase of a coal gasification project in north China has been completed and will start to supply gas to Beijing at the end of this year, according to project officials.
The first phase is ready for production after successful tests, said Li Zhichun, director of the recycling industrial park in Hexigten Qi in Chifeng City, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, where the project is located.
The remaining 100-km section of the transmission pipeline from Chifeng City to Miyun County in Beijing is under construction, Li told Xinhua on Thursday.
The first phase is capable of producing 1.33 billion cubic meters of gas each year. The project will be completed in three phases with a total capacity of 4 billion cubic meters annually. The second phase is currently under construction.
When all three phases start full production next year, the project will be capable of supplying Beijing with 4 billion cubic meters of natural gas, or nearly half of the capital's current annual gas demand.
Beijing and other major cities have been trying to cut coal burning in order to reduce pollution, as harmful smoggy air has been a great concern for citizens.
The Hexigten coal gasification project, the first such project to be approved in the country, began construction in August 2009, with an estimated investment of 25.7 billion yuan (4.2 billion U.S.dollars).
Datang Energy Chemical Company Ltd., Beijing Gas Company, China Datang and Tianjin Jinneng jointly invested in the project.
Inner Mongolia boasts reserves of more than 800 billion tons of coal, over 600 million tons of oil and 167 million cubic meters of natural gas.
The region will build a clean energy resource base for Beijing and north China, and coal gasification projects are a key part of the region's clean energy sector, said Bater, chairman of Inner Mongolia.
In the second half of this year, three coal-based gas projects began construction in the region, with a total investment of 80 billion yuan. Each has an annual capacity of 4 billion cubic meters of natural gas.
The total production capacity of under-construction coal gasification projects in Inner Mongolia has reached 17.6 billion cubic meters.
Another five gasification projects in the region, for which preparatory work has been approved, have a combined capacity of 20 billion cubic meters.
The country is boosting its development of clean energy resources, such as nuclear power, hydroelectric power, natural gas, solar energy and wind power.
Other major coal gasification projects are also under way in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Shanxi Province and northeastern Liaoning Province.