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Review, rethink and prospect of China’s modern coal chemical industry development in recent 25 years


XU Zhengang

Author Unit:

China Coal Research Institute, China Coal Technology and Engineering Group Corp., Ltd., Beijing ,China

Key Words:

modern coal chemical industry; coal gasification; coal liquefaction to oil; coal to methanol; coal to chemicals; coal to natural gas
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The development of modern coal chemical industry is an important part of the national energy development strategy. It is a necessary measure to give full play to the comparative resource advantages of coal energy and ensure the national energy security. It is also a practical means to alleviate the contradiction between supply and demand of oil and natural gas. The development of China’s modern coal chemical industry began at the end of the 20th century and ran through five “Five-Year Plans” from the Ninth Five Year Plan to the 13 th Five Year Plan, and had made remarkable achievements.Modern coal chemical industry is different from traditional coal chemical industry, including direct coal liquefaction, coal gasification, Fischer Tropsch synthesis, large-scale coal to methanol, methanol to olefin, methanol to aromatics, coal to glycol, coal to natural gas and others. This paper reviewd the development process of China’s modern coal chemical industry in recent 25 years, analyzed the characteristics of scientific and technological innovation and industrial development carried out under the guidance of national policies and macro-control during each “Five-Year Plan”, and introduced the historical context from laboratory research, engineering development, industrialization demonstration to industrialization development and further upgrading and improvement. This paper summarized the development status and the fruitful achievements in the rapid development of modern coal chemical industry in the past 25 years, including the major breakthroughs in the core technology, special catalyst and key equipments of coal chemical industry.The core technologies and key equipments in the industrial routes of direct coal liquefaction, coal gasification, synthesis gas Fischer Tropsch synthesis, methanol to olefin, coal to glycol and others have been achieved significant breakthroughs, the technical level in general has ranked the top in the world. The direct coal liquefaction, methanol to olefin, coal to glycol and others have reached the world leader.The five typical industrial demonstration projects of modern coal chemical industry with special significance were described. This paper summarized the industrial demonstration projects and industrial scale that had been completed and put into operation in the main technical directions of modern coal chemical industry in China. At last, the author introspected the rapid development process in the past 25 years, summarized the valuable experience and key points of work in different stages of development. Facing the new opportunities of transformation and upgrading of coal industry and high-quality development of coal chemical industry, this paper analyzes the major problems that still exist in China’s modern coal chemical industry, such as further upgrading of the overall technical level, further upgrading of the main products, further improvement of the economic benefits of the project, and the severe challenges faced by the core competitiveness of the industry, and points out that China’s modern coal chemical industry needs further upgrading.According to the development status,the technical direction and key work of the future technological innovation are put forward.The breakthrough of modern coal chemical technology innovation should be the development of high-end differentiated new products of coal chemical industry, especially the development of new products with high performance and high added value, which is also the essential feature of coal chemical industry.
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August 15th,2020

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