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Rural Areas to Lead Way in Biogas Use

Rural areas are going to have to develop renewable energy resources to help solve energy shortages that have slowed economic growth, an agricultural official said yesterday.

Wang Jiuchen, of the Ministry of Agriculture, based his remarks on the large supply of biomass resources in China, meaning any organic matter available on a renewable basis.

China's annual output of standard coal is at least 1.5 billion tons, Wang said at the International Seminar on Biogas Technology for Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Development, which opened yesterday in Beijing.

"If 50 percent of such resources can be used to produce liquid fuels, they will provide 200 million tons of liquid fuels to the nation's petroleum market," Wang said.

Official statistics indicate the national demand for crude oil last year was about 275 million tons.

"So, developing rural renewable energy resources should be channeled in the direction of large-scale industrialization and commercialization rather than confined within the range of solving the energy shortages in rural areas," Wang said.

Starting from 2000, China implemented an "Ecological Home and Rich Farmer Program" nationwide, which has produced multiple models of efficient energy utilization. It sets biogas, biomass and solar energy as the priorities.

"The program would be of great significance in promoting the development of rural renewable energy, raising farmers' income and facilitating the sustainable development of the rural economy," Agriculture Vice-Minister Zhang Baowen said at the seminar.

(China Daily October 19, 2005)

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