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Geothermal increasingly used for space heating in Xiongan, northern China

Xiongan new industrial zone, China (source: flickr/ GIZ-SGUP,
Carlo Cariaga Carlo Cariaga 11 Mar 2019

Eleven villages in Xiongan, northern China are now using geothermal energy for space heating as a cleaner, cheaper, and more efficient alternative to burning coal.

Geothermal energy is cooling down energy costs in northern China – even as it heats residents’ homes. An increasing number of people there now use geothermal energy, replacing coal for heating in winter.

In Zhongying Village, China’s Hebei Province, government-backed projects have connected every home to a pipe that supplies hot water for heating. The old chimneys that once pushed out smoke from coal have gone cold. However, the temperatures inside the homes are even higher than before.

“We used to use coal, and it often smoked the wall,” said Guo Chunxi, a villager, “Now the room temperature can reach 25 degrees Celsius, and has been at least 18 degrees Celsius throughout this winter.”

A geothermal company has signed contracts with residents. The company started to provide heating service ten years ago; it is only recently that the pipelines extended to the rural area.

Li Kunkun is in charge of the heating projects, and he found that the room temperatures of many local villagers used to be substandard. “Houses in the rural area are large and often poorly insulated. Burning coal could only get the room temperature to 13 degrees Celsius on average. But we can get the temperature to 20 degrees Celsius on average,” said Li.

Eleven villages in Xiongan now use geothermal energy for heating, cutting 150,000 tons of coal consumption. There are still over 500 million people living in China’s rural areas.

Research supported by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment shows that efforts to replace scattered coal consumption with clean energy such as gas and electricity have been useful in reducing air pollutants.

The energy use of one household may not seem that important. However, taken as a whole, it can play a big part in reforming China’s energy structure.

Geothermal energy is relatively new to Chinese consumers. However, it poses unique features and is an ideal solution for heating in winter.

“Once built, the geothermal wells and heat exchange stations cost less in maintenance. That will reduce the burden on residents, and we send every drop of underground water back, to minimize interference with underground geological conditions, and to reach sustainable exploration,” said Liu Junxia, deputy chief geologist of Sinopec Star, a company that has built geothermal wells in 13 provinces in China. These geothermal wells could help to cut one and a half million tons of coal consumption a year.

Geothermal energy resources are found in many places in China. In the Xiongan New Area, the storage is abundant and more villages will enjoy such clean energy in the future.

Source: China Global Television Network