Construction on a 8.4-kilometer-long coal-transmission pipeline was recently completed in Jincheng Economic and Technological Development Zone in Jincheng city, Shanxi province, enabling the conveyance of more than 1,000 metric tons of coal per hour.
Built by Huayu Coal Chemicals, a subsidiary of Jicheng Anthracite Coal Mining Group, the pipeline connects Huayu's Sihe Mine and its coal processing facility. The pipeline system is currently under trial operation and its official operation will begin in the near future.
Huayu is one of the largest coal liquefaction enterprises in Shanxi province.
It uses high-sulfur coal, coal-bed methane and other industrial waste to produce methanol, a kind of clean fuel.
Its coal liquefaction facility can transform 2.2 million tons of high-sulfur coal into 1.2 million tons of methanol a year, according to the company.
Wang Jie, an executive at Sihe Mine, said such a huge facility needs a daily supply of 4,500 tons of crude coal from Sihe.
He said the coal is currently transported by truck.
"We are using a fleet of 50 trucks to carry coal to the liquefaction plant. The loading and unloading are time-consuming and the spilling of coal from the trucks is a big threat to the environment," Wang said.
To solve the problems, Huayu began the construction of the pipeline system in October 2018, with a total investment of 246 million yuan ($34.9 million).
"During construction, we had to overcome a number of difficulties including complicated terrain and high-altitude operations," said Zhang Zilong, a Huayu executive in charge of the construction.
The pipeline crosses two townships, six highways and 18 high-voltage power transmission lines, according to Zhang.
Zhang is responsible for the pipeline's trial operation.
He said the whole system is monitored by automatic devices and access is available on both sides of the pipeline to make it easier for maintenance.
As the pipeline is fully enclosed, spilling of coal can be avoided, reducing pollution of the environment, according to Wang.
The executive said the system can save 18 million yuan a year in transportation costs compared with the use of trucks.
He said the pipeline is the longest in Asia for coal transmission.