How will 16 million tons of ash and slag be used?
VietNamNet Bridge - The waste from coal-fired power plants includes solid, liquid and gaseous waste, including 16 million tons of ash & slag and gypsum discharged every year. But only 30 percent, or 5 million tons, is treated and re-used.


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Tran Van Luong from the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) said Vietnam expects to have 12 more coal-fired theral opower plants by 2020 which will consume 60 million tons of coal a year and discharge 22.6 million tons of ash & slag and gypsum a year.

In other countries, ash and slag from thermal power plants are used as building materials and additives in the production of cement, concrete and the building of roads. In Vietnam, ash and slag produced during the coal burning process is simply carried to dumping grounds.

The ash and slag which cannot be reused will occupy storage areas, while the waste water from storage areas will leak into the environment. The amount of ash and slag is increasingly high, while the dumping grounds are limited. From the dumping grounds, ash and slag is spread in the air, thus causing serious air pollution. 

The dust contained in coal residue, including fine dust of small size (PM2.5 and PM5), also can easily spread when it is carried by trucks from plants to dumping grounds if there is no effective control measure. 

Some years ago, hundreds of people in Binh Thuan province stopped vehicles on Highway No 1 to protest pollution caused by coal residue from the Vinh Tan thermopower plant.

In the north, a small volume of slag is used to make unburned bricks and additives for cement production. In the central and southern regions, it is difficult to deal with the slag as there is still no market for it.

The waste from coal-fired power plants includes solid, liquid and gaseous waste, including 16 million tons of ash & slag and gypsum discharged every year. But only 30 percent, or 5 million tons, is treated and re-used.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment’s (MONRE) unreasonable provisions in Standard 22 on thermopower plants’ emissions cause the electricity production cost to increase by VND70-80 per kwh.

An expert pointed out that thermal power plants don’t treat and reuse coal residues but only put them into dumping grounds because the treatment is not a must for them. 

He also blames this on unreasonable standards on using ash & slag in making building materials. Many brick and building material manufacturers can use ash & slag, but they are not eligible to receive slag if referring to Decree 38. 

Meanwhile, experts warn that the volume of coal residue will be increasing rapidly in the time to come. Truong Duy Nghia, chair Vietnam Association of Thermal Technology, said as Vietnam has decided to cancel the nuclear power plan development, the demand for electricity will be satisfied mostly by thermal power. 

He predicted that coal-fired thermal power will make up about 60 percent of total electricity output in Vietnam by 2030.


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Kim Chi

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