VN Government seeks best treatment technology for waste
VietNamNet Bridge - The government, environmental ministry and local authorities are seeking a waste treatment technology that work well in Vietnam, where waste is not sorted at source.


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Every year, Vietnam needs to spend a huge amount to treat solid waste and the figure has increased by 9 percent per annum. According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MONRE), most solid waste is buried (95 percent in Hanoi and 76 percent in HCM City), while a part of waste is treated with incineration. 

The central and local budgets spend trillions of dong a year on waste treatment, but the result has been very modest. 

This is attributed to the lack of a technology suited to Vietnam’s conditions. The technologies did not bring satisfactory effects in Vietnam.

The solution to incinerate biomass to generate electricity is expected to have big advantages compared with other technologies. It can help reduce the waste capacity and weight by 90-95 percent. In addition, it doesn’t require large land fund and mitigates the risk of pollution to water sources. It also reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

In some countries, for example, garbage is put into biomass incinerators and turned into ashes after incineration. However, the technology doesn’t fit Vietnam. As domestic garbage contains a high volume of plastic, the incineration process produces toxic gases, including dioxin and furan.

If the temperature is lower than 1,200oC, the two gases combine and exist in the air. In Vietnam, the temperature inside incinerators is usually below 1,200oC.

The solution to incinerate biomass to generate electricity is expected to have big advantages compared with other technologies. It can help reduce the waste capacity and weight by 90-95 percent. In addition, it doesn’t require large land fund and mitigates the risk of pollution to water sources. It also reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

However, Vietnamese scientists believe the technology, very popular in Europe and East Asia, should not be used in Vietnam.

Burning waste to generate electricity is just like burning coal to generate electricity. It is estimated that 90-95 percent of electricity to be produced will be used for the plants’ operation, and only 5-10 percent can be provided to the national grid, which means low efficiency.

As for plasma gasification, the technology has great advantages, but consumes a lot of energy and the production cost is high. In western countries, the technology is applied only to the treatment of hazardous waste.

Burying waste in a sanitary way (utilizing methane emissions from landfills to generate electricity) and burning biomass to generate electricity are both popular and affordable.

However, they are also unsuited to Vietnam’s conditions. To utilize the technology, waste must be sorted at source. Waste treatment plants using the two methods have failed or have moderate operations in Vietnam.


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Thanh Lich

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