HCM CITY (VNS)— As an agricultural country, Viet Nam has great potential to develop bio-gas from agricultural and animal waste, a forum heard in HCM City yesterday.
Duong Nguyen Khang, a member of the Viet Nam Biogas Association's executive board, said animal husbandry developed rapidly in Viet Nam, and untreated waste from animal breeding was a big source of pollution.
Agricultural production and processing also created waste, he said.
At the same time countries were seeking new sources to replace or supplement traditional fossil energy sources.
"Bio-gas technology must be used to convert organic waste into bio-gas to reduce the greenhouse effect, wipe out diseases at breeding farms, and create a clean energy source for cooking, lighting, and generating electricity," he said.
"With more than 70 per cent of the population involved in the agricultural sector, bio-gas is an indispensable factor in agricultural production. Using bio-gas helps reduce environmental pollution and curbs the consumption of traditional types of energy," he said.
"Bio-gas is also used to make organic fertilisers. In some provinces and cities, especially at large livestock farms, bio-gas has become a means of using animal waste to generate energy."
Though many bio-gas plants have been built in Viet Nam, they are mostly small since the technologies for large plants are expensive, according to Dr Bui Xuan An, deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Biogas Association.
Popularising the use of bio-gas is not however easy because public awareness about it and its benefits remains limited.
Technical barriers and lack of skills to maintain bio-gas plants are also problems, while a market for this fuel has not been developed.
"The country lacks strategies and policies for bio-gas development and the cost of a plant is a bit too high for average rural residents," Khang said.
He called on local governments to map out a strategy for bio-gas development.
By the end of last year 130,000 bio-gas plants had been built in 53 provinces and cities under the Biogas Programme for the Animal Husbandry Sector in Viet Nam run by SNV Netherlands Development Organ-isation and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
It is estimated each plant annually reduces CO2 emissions by 5.2 tonnes. — VNS