Foreign companies keen on China’s clean energy drive

China’s push to clean up the environment is creating a huge renewable energy market, tempting industry leaders.

Automakers, for example, are vying for a larger share of the world’s fastest-growing new energy vehicle market.

U.S. automaker Tesla is reportedly in talks with Shanghai to build a factory, and the company is “deeply committed to the Chinese market.”

Ford recently announced a joint venture with Anhui Zotye Automobile to produce and sell electric cars in China, with plans to launch 15 models by 2025.

The growing interest comes with China’s intensified efforts to ease pressure on the environment through tax exemptions and subsidies for new energy cars.

Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford Motor Company, said China is taking the lead in the electric vehicle market as there is a real government push to clear the air.

It is not just the automobile industry that sees opportunities in government initiatives. Companies from chemical producers to natural gas providers are thrilled by the push for long-term, sustainable growth.

Clariant, a Swiss chemicals company, is looking for Chinese partners to commercialize its “sunliquid,” which converts agricultural residue such as wheat straw into ethanol. According to Markus Rarbach, head of biofuels and derivatives at Clariant, the company’s technology could be in widespread use in 2018.

In September, the National Development and Reform Commission and National Energy Administration decided to increase use of bioethanol gasoline by 2020, and to build an facility that will produce 50,000 tonnes of cellulosic ethanol a year.

“Given China’s huge population and growing economy, our sunliquid technology can play a key role in helping the country make that important fuel switch,” Rarbach said.

The transition in fuel is also helping eliminate winter smog. This year, Beijing has shut down more than 4,000 coal-fired boilers used for winter heating, replacing coal with natural gas and electricity, prompting state oil companies to look overseas for new gas sources.

Sinopec will take the lead in exploration of liquified natural gas (LNG) in Alaska, according to a deal signed during U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to China.

The project could create 70,000 new jobs in theUnited States, while helping China cut 80 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

In an interview with Xinhua, Governor Bill Walker of the U.S. state of Alaska said the project could provide a long-term LNG supply at a stable price and meet China’s rising demand.

“We have a tremendous opportunity in Alaska to bring liquefied natural gas to China on a very long-term basis,” Walker said.

With the country’s continued opening-up and better environmental protection in the years to come, more foreign firms can benefit from China’s clean energy drive.

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