Rapid growth of petroleum coke consumption and its related emissions in China

Yuli Shan, Dabo Guan, Jing Meng, Zhu Liu, Heike Schroeder, Jianghua Liu, Zhifu Mi

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Petroleum coke, a non-environmentally friendly energy source, is gradually replacing other power fuels in China’s industrial enterprises because of its price advantage. Petroleum coke has high emission factors and thus emits more greenhouse gases (GHGs) and air pollutants than even raw coal. This study first examines the rapid growth of petroleum coke consumption in China since 2010 by industry sector and region and then estimates the petroleum coke-related emissions. We conclude that the total consumption of petroleum coke increased by 18.9% from 2010 to 2016 and that the industry final consumption for burning in boilers increased dramatically (by 158.2%). Petroleum coke-related CO2 emissions reached 28 million tonnes in 2016, whereas CH4 and N2O emissions totaled 870 and 143 tonnes, respectively. The increased use of petroleum coke will increase the urgency for the development of climate change mitigation and emissions reduction measures in China. We propose several possible policy suggestions for petroleum coke management and emissions control, such as strongly restricting the production and import of high-sulphur petroleum coke, as well as burning petroleum coke to provide power; more power plants and industrial kiln stoves/boilers should be equipped with efficient decontamination systems; the development of advanced industrial processes and the clean utilization of petroleum coke should be encouraged.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-502
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Energy
Early online date14 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2018


  • Air pollutants
  • China
  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Petroleum coke

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