VietNamNet Bridge - The Mekong Delta can supply an estimated 4 million tonnes of rice husk as fuel for thermoelectric plants with a potential capacity of 500MW, according to the Mekong Delta Development Research Institute.
Farmers pack dehusked rice before export at a mill in southern Tien Giang Province.
The institute’s recent survey at 108 rice mills in Can Tho City, An Giang, Kien Giang, Hau Giang and Soc Trang provinces found only about half of the rice husk from the mills is used for household fuel, fertiliser and other purposes.
The other half is disposed of by burning or dumping into rivers and canals, polluting the environment.
If the Delta’s rice husk is used to fuel thermoelectric plants instead of being wasted, it could meet the plants’ fuel demand and help reduce environmental pollution, said the institute.
The Japanese company J-Power is one of the companies planning to use rice husk in the Delta for generating electricity.
J-Power is now co-operating with its Vietnamese partner, Dinh Hai Thermoelectricity Joint-stock Company, to build a 10-MW thermoelectricity plant fuelled with rice husk in Can Tho City’s Thot Not Industrial Park. The construction of the 10-MW rice husk-powered plant, which can consume 80,000 tonnes of rice husk a year, is scheduled to start late this year, according to J-Power.
J-Power said if the construction of this first rice husk-powered plant was successful, it would build between 10-15 others in the Delta provinces.
Huynh Van Hoa, owner of Hong Phat Private Business Establishment in An Giang Province’s Thoai Son District, said his rice mill produced 13,000-16,000 tonnes of husk a year.
Hoa said in his district there are 20 rice mills which produce a total of 400,000 tonnes of husk a year.
To build a 10-MW thermoelectric plant, the plant investor only needs to sign contracts with 10 rice mills to ensure the plant’s fuel demands are met.
Van Ha Phong, permanent deputy chairman of the Kien Giang Province People’s Committee, said the provincial Department of Industry and Trade is working with relevant departments to find a site to build a rice husk power plant with capacity of 11MW.
The plant will be backed by Ha Noi-based Viet Trung International Investment and Trade Company.
The Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta has an annual paddy output of more than 20 million tonnes. Rice husk supplies are most abundant in rice harvest seasons, particularly from February to July.