Established in 2000, ECO Environmental Investments Limited (ECO) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Hong Kong and China Gas Company Limited (Towngas). Committed to protecting the environment, ECO has not only developed a wide range of environmentally-friendly energy businesses but also has dedicated itself to driving innovation in related technologies.
In view of the surge in global energy demand, challenges arising from climate change, and changes in China's national energy policy and energy mix, ECO is focusing on the development of new energy projects in China that are low in emissions and pollution, covering resource exploitation, liquefaction of coalbed methane, coal-based chemicals, biomass energies, vehicular fuels, logistic hub and related facilities. In Hong Kong, ECO operates LPG filling stations, landfill gas utilization projects and a permanent aviation fuel storage facility for the Hong Kong International Airport. In Asia, ECO operates an onshore oil field project in Thailand. In collaboration with research and development institutions, ECO is actively engaged in the research and development as well as the application of new technologies for clean energy.
Given the inadequate supply of natural gas in China, ECO applies innovative technology for natural gas production and liquefaction and has gradually positioned itself as the liquefied natural gas (LNG) producer.
Coalbed methane (CBM), consisting mainly of methane, an associated gas that exists in coal mines, is formed when the process of biochemical pyrogenation takes place in coal under both high temperature and pressure. Extraction of CBM before commencement of mining activities can prevent gas incidents, thus enhancing safety in coal mines and reducing pollution.
Taking advantage of the abundant CBM supplies in Shanxi province, ECO, in cooperation with the Shanxi Jincheng Anthracite Mining Group, has liquefied the extracted CBM with the world’s latest cryogenic technology. LCBM is a new form of safe and clean energy. It is higher in energy density, more easy to transport and cleaner burning, as well as cost-saving. This is currently the largest CBM liquefaction plant in China with an annual production capacity of 250 million m³. This project is not only a milestone for ECO, but also a pioneering initiative for the industry.
Deep Processing Of Methanol
Due to the insufficient domestic supply of petroleum and natural gas, China has to rely heavily on imported resources to meet the needs for its rapid development. With abundant coal resources, China can make up for other inadequate resources by speeding up its development of coal-based chemical technology, laying a foundation for the development of a petroleum substitute fuel industry in the long run.
ECO is carrying out a coal-based chemical project in Erdos, Inner Mongolia. Situated in Zhungeer, this project in mid-2015 has an annual production capacity of over 300,000 tons of methanol, a chemical product which has high economic value as it can be used as clean vehicular fuel and as raw material for numerous chemical products.
In addition, ECO has invested in coking projects in Inner Mogolia and Jiangsu region along Yangtze River. The Company has begun to study the feasibility of utilising tail gas emitted during the coking process as a feedstock for gas supply, and making use of self-developed technology to upgrade low temperature tar oil into different oil products.
In support of the HKSAR Government's initiative to improve urban air quality, ECO has designed, constructed and been operating LPG filling stations in Hong Kong since 2000. ECO’s five designated LPG filling stations provide 18,000 LPG taxis and most of LPG minibuses in Hong Kong with 24-hour gas filling services. The annual sales of the ECO stations are around 65,000 tons LPG, which accounts for about 30% of Hong Kong’s auto LPG market.
With solid experience in operation and safety management as well as expertise in technology and customer services, ECO has extended its gas filling station business into the mainland market. In 2006, our first three compressed natural gas (CNG) filling stations came into operation in Maanshan, Anhui province, providing services to the city CNG buses and taxis. In 2010, our first liquefied natural gas (LNG) filling station came into service in Dalian Development Area, Liaoning province. We now have more than 50 (LNG/CNG) gas filling station projects in Shandong, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Liaoning, Henan and Guangdong provinces of mainland China.
In line with mainland Government’s initiative to deal with this issue on air pollution, we will maintain our momentum to develop more stations in the future.
Landfill Gas Utilisation
In 2004, ECO designed and constructed a landfill gas processing plant at the North East New Territories (NENT) landfill. By separating carbon dioxide from landfill gas through pressure swing absorption (PSA), treated landfill gas, or synthetic natural gas (SNG), is transported to Towngas’ production plant in Tai Po via a 19-km-long pipeline and is mostly utilised as renewable fuel for Towngas’ production.
The construction on the South East New Territories (SENT) Landfill Gas Utilisation project showed satisfactory progress. The new facility will utilise advanced technology to convert landfill gas into synthetic natural gas, which will be transported through a 12-km-long pipeline to Tseng Lan Shue and integrated into the gas supply network there. The construction of treatment plant was completed. The project is expected to reduce carbon emissions by around 56,000 tonnes per year.
Aviation Fuel Facility
In 2002, ECO signed a 40-year Franchise Agreement with the Hong Kong Airport Authority to design, construct and operate an Aviation Fuel Facility (AFF) supplying fuel for aircraft at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA). This project consists of eight tanks with a gross aviation fuel storage capacity of 264,000 m³, and a jetty with two berths, of which the 1st loading platform can accommodate vessels from 10,000 to 80,000 dwt, whereas the 2nd loading platform can do so from 10,000 to 50,000 dwt. The aviation fuel is transported from Tuen Mun to the HKIA through two undersea pipelines. AFF was fully operational by Nov 2010. With its thoroughfare of over 6 million tonnes of fuel a year, it is one of the largest energy infrastructure facilities in Hong Kong.
Research and Development of Clean Energy
ECO Environmental Energy Research Institute
The ECO Environmental Energy Research Institute, (ECO EERI) was established in 2009 as a wholly owned subsidiary of ECO. Aligned with the company business development, the ECO EERI is committed to working on technological applications that can transform energy from its upstream resource forms to downstream product forms, with particular emphasis on energy efficiency and low emission. This is embodied in our vision “Bringing Green Technology to Reality”.