|The Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences (CRAES) and the world's leading chemical company, BASF, Wednesday signed an agreement to initiate strategic cooperation by jointly establishing a Benz M111 engine testing laboratory in Beijing.
According to Meng Wei, president of the CRAES, the laboratory will operate according to internationally standardized testing procedures, and will be responsible for setting and supervising product standards related to fuel quality, assessing the quality of Chinese gasoline, improving the quality of fuels for motor vehicles and reducing emission.
The ultimate goal is to bring about a cleaner environment in China, given the challenging fact that motor vehicles are increasing rapidly in urban areas such as Beijing, Meng said.
There are three labs of this kind now being built in China, according to Meng. The other two are owned by two top oil and chemical manufacturers in the country, and will be mainly working for testing new products of these two companies, he noted.
According to the agreement, BASF will support the project financially and provide advanced technical and R&D expertise for the laboratory. The laboratory will be independently operated by CRAES, which is attached to SEPA and conducts research in environmental science and technology. One of CRAES' key projects is the reduction of air pollution caused by motor vehicles in China.
Luo Yi, deputy director of SEPA, highly commended BASF's initiative and said, "The support coming from BASF is exactly whatwe are looking for from global leading companies."
"I believe we are doing the right thing at the right time and the right place," said Johnny Kwan, managing director of BASF China Limited during the ceremony. "We all know that Beijing is going to host the 2008 Olympics, and traffic -- the pollution thatcomes with it -- is one of the biggest challenges ahead."
"BASF is happy that, together with SEPA/CRAES, we can offer a sustainable solution at the moment of greatest need and contributeour part to the 2008 Olympics, when the whole world's attention will focus on Beijing. This reflects our commitment to environmental protection in addition to economic growth in China,"added Kwan.
In Beijing alone, the number of motor vehicles has exceeded 2 million since last October. It has created daunting pressure for both traffic and the environment. The Chinese government has been trying to come up with the best solutions to cope with the situation. The cooperation between BASF and CRAES has gained substantial support from SEPA.
Jan-Peter Sander, Group Vice President of Performance Chemicalsfor the Automotive and Oil Industry of BASF AG described BASF's leading position in the fuel additive sector, its experience and advanced technology during the signing ceremony.
"Similar facilities are operated at BASF's headquarters in Ludwigshafen, Germany," he said. "Through this initiative, we willbe able to exchange with CRAES the most advanced technology and experiences gained from our global market presence. By improving fuel quality and controlling emission, we aim to create a cleaner environment for ourselves as well as future generations."
Professor Meng Wei, director of CRAES thanked BASF's support and added, "The opening of the engine testing laboratory will enhance China's research capability in improving fuel quality, and will also help CRAES set up a controlling and regulating system for motor vehicle emission. I am sure the cooperation will benefit our environment and the people living in it. Based on our joint research results, we will be able to formulate more effective environmental protection laws and regulations, and to enforce them accordingly."
The joint engine testing laboratory marks the first step of BASF's and CRAES' strategic cooperation. Under the umbrella agreement, the two parties will also cooperate in organizing and holding technical seminars; exchange information, technology and expertise; conduct technical research for fuels and environment protection; and provide suggestions for relevant government policies. These programs are to be unfolded over the next five years.
According to Kwan, BASF is the world's leading chemical company. Its goal is to grow profitably and further increase the value of the company. BASF helps its customers to be more successful through intelligent system solutions and high-quality products. BASF's portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products, agricultural products and fine chemicals to crude oil and natural gas.
"Through new technologies we can tap into additional market opportunities. We conduct our business in accordance with the principles of sustainable development," he said.
In 2003, BASF reported sales of more than 33 billion euros (about 42 billion US dollars) and over 87,000 employees worldwide. It is one of the biggest foreign investors in China's chemical industry.