Going Green by Growing Green

Increasing environmental concerns and rising crude oil prices are forcing countries including the United States and China to look for alternative energy resources. As the world's second largest oil importer, China is promoting the development of biofuel energies to reduce its dependency on imported crude oil, the demand for which is in the millions of tons.

One way China plans to take biofuel production into its own hands is by utilizing its own abundant natural resources. The jatropha plant, farmed in the Yunnan Province, has typically been regarded as a pest, not a mover for major economic production. However, when the seeds are crushed, the resulting oil can be processed to produce biodiesel fuel. The residue can also be processed and used as a biomass feedstock to power electricity plants or used as fertilizer. It can be grown in a range of difficult soil and weather conditions, making it a candidate for growth even in China¡¯s non-arable areas.

Planting jatropha has been the focus for the Yunnan Province local government¡¯s biofuel development plans for nearly 3 years. It plans to be able to produce 500,000 tons of biodiesel annually by 2015. If China could achieve the target of turning 75 million mu (5 million hectares) of wasteland into jatropha plantation by 2020, biofuel produced by China could replace 40 percent of the current global aviation jet fuel demand.

There are some obstacles that need to be overcome regarding the quality and commercialization of the jatropha plant and biodiesel fuel on the whole. Yields of jatropha are variable as the plant has not yet been domesticated or improved by plant breeders. It will also take a few years to develop a mass production and distribution system for the commercial application of biofuels, especially as the Chinese government has not mandated use of biofuel in cars.

Environmental concerns and alternative energy solutions should be a top priority for China. To provide a healthier living space for its citizens, as well as break into a growing area of international economic investment, biofuel production can only be encouraged. Development of biofuel technologies draws millions in investment from large companies, particularly in regards to the planting and processing factories of the jatropha plant which can be grown indigenously. Scott Garner, director of Lehman, Lee, and Xu Law Firm¡¯s Shanghai Office, stated, ¡°We are very confident about the biofuel industry. Many countries, including China, have realized the renewable energy industry would become a new engine for economic growth. Lehman, Lee, and Xu has years of experience regarding foreign direct investment for Chinese businesses and will be happy to consult with our customers at any of our numerous offices throughout China.¡±

Lehman, Lee & Xu is one of the first five private law firms established in the People's Republic of China. After nearly twenty years of practice and development, Lehman, Lee & Xu now has more than two hundred patent, trademark and PRC-licensed attorneys working in numerous branch offices located in the most-developed cities in China. As one of the leading IP firms in China, Lehman, Lee & Xu provides high quality legal service to its clients and has been consistently rated among the top five IP law firms in China. Lehman, Lee & Xu is also a top-three commercial law firm, and has provided a variety of commercial legal services to hundreds of clients, many of them multinational corporations (MNCs) and Fortune 100 companies. The firm's diverse catalog of commercial services covers foreign direct investment (FDI), merger and acquisition (M&A), tax, employment and many other areas.
For more information about Lehman, Lee & Xu, please visit the firm's website at www.lehmanlaw.com

Morgan Crank

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