Environmental protection and sustainable development have recently become of paramount importance, especially for China. Partnering and business opportunities can thus be significant for European companies in the field. At present, the Chinese energy system is characterized by the prevalent use of fossil-fuel resources while the renewable sources are just entering into the market. In recent years, China has initiated a process to update technologies and infrastructures, using the Best Available Techniques on the international market. This process is still ongoing and it must be completed in sectors such as heavy industry, where the conversion is aimed at increasing overall energy efficiency and reducing environmental impact. Given its size and increasing carbon footprint the evolution of the Chinese energy system and its environmental implications are of global relevance.
Three main research areas are involved in POREEN, with specific but highly integrated and interconnected tasks:
The economic research area
The research aims to expand and deepening the knowledge of trade and foreign direct investments flows between Europe and China in the renewable energies and environmental industries so as to suggest:
• the priority sectors that should be targeted to stimulate Europe-China trade and investment flows;
• the obstacles, barriers and difficulties faced by European firms in initiating, maintaining and consolidating both trade and investment initiatives in China;
• the obstacles, barriers and difficulties encountered by Chinese companies investing in Europe.
The engineering research area
Engineering research activity is focused on two main research areas, both related to energy efficiency and carbon dioxide reduction:
• mobility and the transportation sector;
• low carbon buildings.
The research intends to analyze the state of the art and to propose a model addressing economical, legal and technical issues which need to be faced to ensure the introduction on the Chinese market of alternative fuels and low carbon technologies and instruments in the building sector, so as to identify concrete partnering opportunities for the European industry.
The legal research area
Critical legal issues, normative gaps and potentialities in Europe-China trade and FDI relations will be examined by researchers, who will specifically focus on:
• oil and gas offshore and renewable energy;
• environmental and labor standards and corporate social responsibility (CSR) issues.
The researchers will make use of their knowledge in international law, EU law, International investment and trade law, commercial law, environmental law and CSR. Their perspective will take into consideration both the European investment and cooperation projects in China and the main Chinese investment initiatives in Europe.