Viet Nam eyes rice husks as source of clean energy

The ministry of Industry and Trade is working with the World Bank on an initiative to develop rice-husk biomass as a source of clean energy as part of efforts to fight climate change.


The advantages and challenges in using rice husk came in for discussion at a seminar titled “Rice Husk Biomass: Turning Waste into Energy and Profit,” held in HCM City on Thursday by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank, and the ministry.

Speakers highlighted the benefits of using rice husk, pointing out that besides providing electricity and serving as a way to dispose of agricultural waste, ash from the husk, a byproduct at power plants, can be used in the cement and steel industries.

A study released by the IFC shows that Viet Nam, one of the world’s largest rice producers, has the potential to turn rice husk into a clean energy source to replace fossil fuels.

Its husk output is estimated at 7.52 million tonnes in 2010, increasing to 7.9 million tonnes by 2020.

The IFC expects around 1.5 million tonnes to be used to generate 1.2 billion kWh of power annually from 2010.

But there are also challenges, they said, pointing to difficulty in mobilising investment, inadequate policy framework, and doubts about sustainable supply of husk.

The ministry and the World Bank are working on a policy framework to promote renewable energy resources like biomass.

Besides, the IFC will work to build partnerships between rice mills and traders to secure supply. The corporation will also provide funds to local banks for entering the business of financing renewable energy.

Two rice-husk power plants are being built in the Mekong Delta’s Can Tho City and Dong Thap Provinces with a capacity of 18 MW and 10 MW respectively. Feasibility studies are under way for a third in Tien Giang Province.



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