Oodles of clean noodles: rice vermicelli village reduces pollution

13:06 | 27/07/2020 Environment

(VEN) - By applying energy efficient technologies, Phu Do traditional vermicelli village in Hanoi’s Nam Tu Liem District has significantly improved production capacity and reduced emissions, easing environmental pollution.

oodles of clean noodles rice vermicelli village reduces pollution
Application of advanced technology helps consume less energy

Before the 1990s, 90 percent of village households produced their rice vermicelli by hand, with the process of boiling in coal furnaces greatly affecting workers’ health and the community. According to a survey of more than 500 households by the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST), each household uses on average 19 to 22 kg of coal a year, emitting 1,586 tonnes of coal slag and 6,158 tonnes of carbon dioxide. According to Nguyen Van Hoa, head of the traditional craft club in Phu Do, backward technologies and poor waste treatment have caused increasingly serious environmental pollution, especially of water and air.

In early 2000, the Institute of Energy Science (under the VAST) conducted a study to introduce three production models for Phu Do village. The first was a scattered production mode involving an innovative coal furnace with a pipe for exhaust fume emissions, and a heat insulation and recycling system with 30 percent efficiency, twice as much as the old furnace. The amount of generated heat is “recycled” for daily use and the model is being widely used in craft villages.

The second is a production model by household groups. Each group consists of 3-5 households, equipped with boilers providing appropriate pressure, steam and temperature. The expected productivity is 200 to 400 kg per hour, 2.5 times higher than the old technology. Experts said this model only takes five hours a day for vermicelli production, saving 71 percent of the coal volume compared to manual production. Each year, the village will save 1,300 tonnes of coal, reducing 2,000 tonnes of C02 emissions. Despite its effectiveness, only a handful of households use it.

The third model, concentrated production, seems to have the most advantage. It creates a multi-stage production line of grinding the rice, kneading rice flour, making rice noodles, and waste treatment. "However, this model requires a high consensus among production households and a large investment capital, so it takes time for preparation steps,” Nguyen Van Hoa said.

In addition to energy efficiency, wastewater treatment has reduced COD (chemical oxygen demand) value from 7,800 mg to 192 mg per liter, with efficiency of 98 percent. Local producers are also shifting to biogas use to replace coal.

Science and technology application in production has helped increase the output of this Vietnamese staple by two-three times for each household, and improved product quality as well. “Notably, the environment in the traditional village and the workers' health have significantly improved,” Hoa said.

Phu Do traditional vermicelli village currently has 1,000 households making about 90 tonnes of vermicelli

daily.

Hai Linh