Coal industry targets technological innovation

09:05 | 10/12/2019 Science - Technology

(VEN) - The Vietnamese coal industry will focus on strengthening the application of scientific and technological advances in production to increase labor productivity, reduce costs, and ensure worker safety in order to drive towards sustainable development.

coal industry targets technological innovation

Despite plans to shift to renewable energy sources, all projections indicate that coal-fired thermal power will continue to play a dominant role in ensuring Vietnam’s national energy security. According to Prime Ministerial Decision 428/QD-TTg dated March 18, 2016 on the national power development master plan for the 2011-2020 period, with a vision to 2030, maximum exploitation of domestic coal resources shall be ensured for the development of thermal power plants, with priorities given to the use of domestic coal by northern thermal power plants. By 2020, total capacity of coal-fired thermal power shall be around 26,000MW, generating about 131 billion kWh of electricity (accounting for 49.3 percent of total electricity generation) and consuming around 63 million tonnes of coal. Total capacity should be around 47,600MW by 2025 and 55,300MW by 2030, generating about 220 billion kWh and 304 billion kWh of electricity, and consuming about 95 million tonnes and 129 million tonnes of coal, respectively.

A March 2019 report from Fitch Solutions, a business intelligence company that studies business markets, said coal generation growth is expected “to increase rapidly over the next decade and to dominate Vietnam’s power sector expansion. We forecast coal-powered generation to grow at an average of 10.1 percent [year-over-year] to reach about 50.5 percent of the power mix by 2028.”

However, the coal industry is facing many challenges. Coal reserves with favorable mining conditions have been exhausted and most coal mines are currently exploited at a depth of about 500m below sea level, resulting in increased risk.

Therefore, the coal industry needs to adopt urgent technological innovation measures in its production stages, enhance mechanization and automation to increase productivity, and diversify screening and processing methods to increase the types of coal needed to meet customer demand.

According to the Department of Science and Technology under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, science and technology play a key role for sustainable development of the coal industry. Investment in technological innovation in the coal industry has contributed to increasing average coal output by 14 percent per year.

In recent years, the Vietnam National Coal-Mineral Industries Holding Corporation Limited (Vinacomin) has been active in promoting scientific research and technological development. The Ministry of Industry and Trade is working with the Ministry of Science and Technology and Vinacomin to enhance mechanization and automation in coal mining and transport in underground coal mines in Quang Ninh Province.

Vinacomin has developed Action Plan 188/CTr-TKV on promoting computerization and automation in management

and production in the 2017-2020 period, with a vision to 2030 in order to improve its performance.

Nguyen Nga