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China down to 12 days worth of coal

  1. Apr 24, 2008 #1
    Source: http://www.news.com.au/business/story/0,23636,23586655-31037,00.html

    This certainly came as a shock to me.. since this situation is clearly due to overpopulation.. and my country India, suffers from the same problem. Hence, tomorrow it could be my country in the news for it's lowering energy resources...
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 24, 2008 #2


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    It's clear that there can be no other major factors? Even the article said the reasons were "multi-dimensional".
  4. Apr 24, 2008 #3
    The power generation plant closest to my home has at most a week's supply and has run that way for decades except when strikes have threatened. Why the alarm? Twelve days is a lot of coal to store.
  5. Apr 24, 2008 #4


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    China imports a lot coal from the US.

    Although 70% of China's electrical energy is produced by coal, they have an aggressive program to build about 40 or so nuclear power plants, but these take about 5 to 6 years to bring online - assuming one can get the large forgings, e.g. RPV and steam generators, built on schedule.
  6. Apr 24, 2008 #5
    Not really. Over 80% of their coal imports come from Australia and ASEAN countries. Vietnam is their single largest import partner, accounting for about half of China's coal imports. Also, China exports almost as much coal as it imports. It was a net exporter until just last year.

    They have aggressive programs to build pretty much *all* types of power plants. A new coal plant goes online in China every two weeks. As a result of this, the percentage of Chinese power generated by coal is expected to *increase* slightly over the coming decades. 40 nuclear power plants is, unfortunately, not even close to enough to keep up with growth in demand. On top of that, almost all of their coal plants use dirty pulverization processes, instead of the cleaner gasification and liquifaction processes used in, for example, Europe and the US.
  7. Apr 27, 2008 #6
    Not really. True, coal consumption is increasing, but because aggressive building of nuclear, wind, solar, and those monstrous hydro projects the actual percentage of coal is expected to go down somewhat.
  8. Apr 27, 2008 #7
    The Chinese coal supply will not run out in 12 days as some may presume. There is more on the way. It is their surplus stored coal lead time that is down.

    Most of Americas bulk storage of gasoline could be used up in a short period of time, probably less than a month. I can't seem to find a link.

    The only bulk storage of crude oil is in the National Strategic Reserve for the military.
  9. Apr 28, 2008 #8
    Well, I haven't been able to find a good reference that says either way, but everything I've read has indicated that the expansion in coal power is at least as aggressive as the expansion of other types of power. We're talking about a new coal power plant every week or so, for years on end.
  10. May 11, 2008 #9
    Wow, if only the coal and other industries were intertwined, then perhaps the communists could be convinced to show a little more respect towards our laws of business.
  11. May 11, 2008 #10
    That brings up an interesting point. It really depends on where in the supply chain you make the cut, from tankers put to sea, to what's left in our collective gas tanks. The closer to the consumer the shorter the backlog. "Lean" business practices expound the virtues of limiting storage and backlog to it's minimum.
    Last edited: May 11, 2008
  12. May 12, 2008 #11
    Yes, that is correct. And, coal can't simply be piled up and left till it's needed; it at least represents a significant fire hazard unless it's ventilated, turned, compacted, on a regular basis. So, twelve days doesn't sound so dire, but it all depends on the lead time (especially the variability) in their supply chain.
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