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German Firm Looks for Big Growth in Small Things
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German chemical giant BASF is developing five key technologies that China is very interested in, according to the company's executive research director.


Speaking at BASF's second workshop on nanostructural surfaces in Shanghai, Stefan Marcinowski said the five technologies were the company's main new growth areas.


The five areas are related to nanotechnology, energy management, raw material change, plant biotechnology and industrial biotechnology.


The company plans to invest 800 million euros (US$1 billion) in research into the five areas in the coming three years.


About 10 percent of that money will go to Asia, with China getting a considerable portion.


"Since it has a great demand for energy and consumes so much, China is very interested in the new technologies," he said.


The company plans to invest 180 million euros (US$229 million) globally in research into nanotechnologies in the next three years.


Nanoscience and nanotechnology involves studying and working with matter on an ultra-small scale.


BASF's nano-materials are mainly used in coatings, chemicals and plastics to improve their performance and create new properties.


One of BASF's latest energy saving inventions is the "three-litre house," which is a home that consumes only three liters of fuel per square meter each year to maintain a comfortable temperature.


Marcinowski claimed this modern house uses about a sixth of the energy needed to run a traditional house and produced 80 per cent less carbon dioxide.


This concept has been successfully applied in Germany, Italy, France, the United States and the Republic of Korea.


Marcinowski said BASF was working closely with the Ministry of Construction to apply its three-liter-house concept to China's house renovation projects.


The first such house is expected to be built in Beijing by the summer of next year.


The director predicted the global market for products based on nanotechnologies would rise to 500 billion euros (US$635 billion) by 2010.


Last year, BASF sold 2 billion euros (US$2.54 billion) worth of nano products.


(China Daily May 10, 2006)


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