Petrovietnam builds second bioethanol plant

State-owned Vietnam Oil and Gas Company (Petrovietnam) has started construction on a second bioethanol plant in the central province of Quang Ngai.

The $80 million (€56 million) plant which will use cassava as feedstock, is expected to open in 18 months with annual capacity of 100,000m³.

The project is the second of three planned biofuel plants in Vietnam, each costing $80 million, the first of which is already under construction in the northern province of Phu Tho and due to open in December 2010.

The third plant will be located in the southern province of Binh Phuoc. Construction will begin in March next year, and is due to be completed at the end of 2011.

The project is part of a biofuel development programme, which, according to Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, aims to produce 250,000 tonnes of ethanol and vegetable oil by 2015, and more than 1.5 million tons per year by 2025, meeting 5% of Southeast Asia’s petroleum demand.

Albeit a modest target, the project is a step in the right direction towards reducing Vietnam’s dependence on fossil fuels. The project will also contribute towards reducing local poverty, as the investors, Bio-Petroleum and Petrochemical Joint Stock Company (PVB), will buy cassava from local farmers at prices equivalent to those available abroad.

To provide a greater insight into Vietnam and its Asian neighbours’ biofuel activities, Biofuels International Asia expo & conference will run from 19-20 November in Singapore. For more details see http://www.biofuelsinternationalexpo.com/asia/

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