Higher cassava yield needed for ethanol plants

16:45 | 06/09/2017 Industry

(VEN) - In order to ensure the efficient operation of ethanol plants to meet demand for E5 fuel production (A92-RON petrol containing five percent ethanol), Vietnam must develop stable, high productivity cassava production as a source for these biofuels.

higher cassava yield needed for ethanol plants

At a meeting with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on the planning of material areas for ethanol production, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang Quoc Vuong said the country has four ethanol plants capable of producing E100 in the provinces of Binh Phuoc, Dong Nai, Quang Nam and Dung Quat. However, only the two plants in Dong Nai and Quang Nam provinces are operating, with capacity of 200,000cu.m each. The two plants’ demand for dry cassava is 500,000 tonnes per year.

To meet demand for E5 fuel production, which is becoming increasingly urgent in light of a planned ban starting in 2018 on A92 oil-based fuel, Vietnam must cultivate cassava growing areas with stable output and selling prices. This means that there must be mechanisms and policies for sustainable development of cassava. In addition, reviewing and rebuilding the planning of material areas in line with the roadmap on developing bio-fuels in Vietnam are required.

Data compiled by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development show that by 2020, Vietnam will have 550,000ha of cassava cultivation area, with output of 12.65 million tonnes of fresh cassava. Some 4.2 million tonnes will be dedicated to cassava starch processing plants, 4.8 million tonnes for bio-fuel production and 3.02 million tonnes for exports. By 2030, the same cassava growing areas are expected to produce 16.5 million tonnes of fresh cassava, 5.4 million of them for bio-fuel production and 4.93 million tonnes for exports.

Currently, cassava growing areas have exceeded the target, with 569,000ha yielding 19.17 tonnes per ha, on average. However, expanding cassava-growing areas would affect other crops in mountainous and remote areas, and farmers on more arable lands are not keen on investing in cassava growing given that fruit trees generate more income. Therefore, increasing productivity is the most feasible solution.

In order to provide sufficient raw materials for bio-fuel production plants, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh assigned the Department of Crop Production to review the planning of material areas. In particular, long-term benefits of cassava growers should be ensured through technical assistance and commitments of stable purchasing at reasonable prices.

According to the bio-fuel development scheme and the roadmap for application of ratios for blending bio-fuels with traditional fuels, all cities and provinces across the country will stop selling A92 petrol and offer only E5 RON 92 and RON 95 fuels starting in 2018. The move is expected to contribute to the country’s energy security and environmental protection.

Nguyen Hanh