Development of biomass fuel chains in Vietnam

Arvo Leinonen, Nguyen Duc Cuong

Research output: Book/ReportReport


The project 'Development and demonstration of multi-fuel supply chains for power plants and industrial boilers in Vietnam is a part of The Energy and Environment Partnership Programme in the Mekong Region (EEP Mekong). The project was carried out by the Institute of Energy (IE) from Vietnam together with Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) during 2011-2012. The main objective of the project was to develop and demonstrate the effective and reliable biomass supply chain based on multi-fuel for the CHP plants and industrial boilers. The current supply technologies and costs were analysed in the beginning of the project in Vietnam. Five theoretical development studies, based on this analysis, were made to develop biomass supply chains. Three of the case studies were selected for practical demonstrations. According to the data of 2010 of the EEP multi-biomass project, the total main solid biomass potential for energy production in Vietnam was about 104.4 million tons (374 TWh). A lot of biomass is utilised for energy and other purposes at the moment. The total surplus of biomass is 22.8 million tons. The share of agro-biomass of the surplus was 82%, the rest (18%) being wood fuel. The main biomass fuel resources are paddy straw, rice husk, maize trash, coconut shells, bagasse and wood residues. In 2005, the total biomass used for energy production was 583.3 PJ (162.0 TWh) of which 366.3 PJ (101.8 TWh) was wood fuel (63%) and the remaining 217.0 PJ (60.3 TWh) different agro-biomass residues. Household sector accounted for 75.8% of the total biomass consumption. The remaining 24.2% was consumed by small industries in heat production and by sugar mills in their CHP plants. The share of biomass (583.3 PJ) from the total primary energy consumption in 2005 (2 182 PJ) was 27% which is a very high figure. The share of biomass of the total energy consumption has decreased during the last years because of the total energy consumption has increased rapidly during the last years. At the moment biomass is economical in Vietnam in heat production of industrial companies. At the moment there is only one very small rice husk power plant in operation in Vietnam. There are many other power plants that are under developments phase in different parts of Vietnam. The main barriers for biomass plant investments are the low electricity price and lack of reliable biomass supply chains to the user. Rice husk and bagasse are the most important biomass fuels in Vietnam. Rice husk is transported currently by boats (15 tons) to brick producers and other consumers. The loading of rice husk at rice mill and unloading of it at a power plant is normally carried out manually. The price of rice husk at power plant is 350-450 VND/kg (3.4-4.4 /MWh). The rice husk price is increasing in Vietnam. The new supply technologies developed in the case studies were demonstrated in three cases in Mekong River Delta region. In the demonstration of 'New effective biomass supply system' it was possible to decrease biomass supply costs by 15% using bigger boats (25 ton) and pneumatic unloading device. In the supply chain the unloading costs of the pneumatic device were 73% lower than those of manual unloading. The objective of the demonstration of 'Multi biomass fuel supply and combustion in power plant' was to evaluate the extension of the operating time of CHP plants in sugar mills for year-round by using surplus bagasse with rice husk as a fuel. There were no problems in blending of bagasse and rice husk, or in combustion of them in the CHP boiler. Burning of rice husk together with bagasse for electricity generation during summer time at sugar mill is profitable if the price of rice husk is not too high. The objective of the demonstration of 'Biomass pellet production and use in industrial boilers' was to investigate technology and economy of using biomass pellets in industrial boilers, in order to replace the utilization of fossil fuel (e.g. coal and oil). Production costs of bagasse pellets were the cheapest, 372 VND/kWh (13.0 /MWh). The conclusion from the demonstration was that it is economical and technically feasible to use of pellets in industrial boilers. The fuel costs in steam production with the bagasse pellets would be about 40% lower than using traditional firewood.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEspoo
PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Number of pages120
ISBN (Electronic)978-951-38-8065-1
ISBN (Print)978-951-38-8064-4
Publication statusPublished - 2013
MoE publication typeD4 Published development or research report or study

Publication series

SeriesVTT Technology


  • Biomass
  • supply
  • development
  • Vietnam


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