As one of world’s top rice-producing countries, Vietnam has great potential to generate biomass energy from rice husks – a byproduct of rice processing that otherwise often goes to waste – but this opportunity needs to be tapped. The nation could exploit 9 million tons of rice husks for power, according to analysis in GIZ’s guidelines for biomass energy development published in 2021.
To promote the sustainable use of rice husks as an energy resource, GIZ signed an agreement with Sanofi Vietnam in September 2021 to advise on the healthcare company’s Rice is the New Green (RING) initiative. Accordingly, GIZ’s Climate Protection through Sustainable Bioenergy Markets in Vietnam (BEM) project will provide technical support to Sanofi so the company can use rice husk-fired technology to heat boilers at their local factories, replacing their existing diesel-fueled ones.
The BEM project will also help the business evaluate the RING project’s technical and economic feasibility, including the project’s potential scale and costs, energy cost savings, potential, productive use of the rice husk combustion byproduct such as bio-silica, and sustainable business models promoting a rice husk circular economy in Vietnam.
The RING project is expected to reduce 2,300 tons of CO2 per year, reduce the cost of industrial steam by 40% and demonstrate feasibility to replace diesel fuel with 100% rice husk biomass energy in production processes, with the goal of further engaging private sector stakeholders in the sustainable development of Vietnam’s economy, society, and environment.
At the ceremony, Mr. Nathan Moore – Director of the BEM project – said, “Rice is the New Green is a meaningful and creative project. Not only pioneering the use of clean energy in production, this project also exploits and utilizes a great deal of rice husk resource which is quite abundant in Vietnam. This absolutely matches the objective of GIZ’s BEM project in Vietnam. With the professional support from GIZ’s BEM project and great effort of Sanofi, this project is expected to bring fruitful contributions to the growth of the green industry ecosystem in Vietnam in the near future.”
Mr. Eric Auschitzky – Head of Industrial Affairs, Sanofi Vietnam (Manufacturing site) – said, “Associating with GIZ’s BEM project, Rice is the New Green will definitely represent an innovative and determined step of Sanofi Vietnam on the journey to become a pioneer in transforming and using renewable resources in the country.”
GIZ and the Electricity and Renewable Energy Authority (EREA) of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) have jointly implemented the BEM project since 2019.