The Workshop on Construction of Standard Energy Efficiency in Chemical Industry was recently organised in Hanoi by the General Department of Energy under the Ministry of Industry and Trade. This was an opportunity for authorities and scientists to find out solutions to green production and obtain greater economic efficiency. On the sidelines of the workshop, Vietnam Business Forum interviewed Mr Cao Quoc Hung, Deputy General Director of the General Department of Energy, on this issue. Anh Phuong reports.
Could you tell us more about energy efficiency standards in industries?
This programme aims to build standards to establish energy efficiency standards for production of some chemical products, and some industries, build energy efficiency action plans, and support the Ministry of Industry and Trade to issue energy efficiency standards for chemical industries. Sub-sectors selected for standardisation include fertilisers (only NPK fertiliser), raw rubber (natural) and paint. Specifically, if these standards are applied, energy consumed may be reduced 3 – 10 percent of total energy used and payback duration is less than one year. With energy efficiency solutions like installing inverters and control devices, the payback duration is less than two years and energy consumed may be reduced 10 – 15 percent. And, with high-paid energy efficiency solutions, the payback duration is less than four years and energy consumed can be saved up to 40 percent.
At present, the Cleaner Production and Energy Efficiency (CPEE) project in Vietnam has surveyed and audited energy typical for chemical plants; surveyed and built standard energy efficiency lines for the three sub-sectors (40 rubber processing plants, more than 20 fertiliser manufacturing plants, and 28 paint factories) and preliminarily audited energy in 20 plants.
With detailed solutions, businesses can access different options, from simple to complex. Particularly, low-cost energy efficiency solutions, with the payback period of less than one year, including good internal behaviour management (fixing leakage in compression systems, timers, and simple controls, bettering maintenance) can reduce 3-10 percent of total energy consumed. Medium-cost energy efficiency solutions, with payback period of less than two years, including installation of inverters, heat recovery equipment and energy management system can cut 10 – 15 percent of total energy used. High-cost energy efficiency solutions, with payback period of less than four years, including installation of combined power and heat (CHP) system, advanced controls and combined use of renewable energy can reduce 40 percent of energy consumed.
Apart from chemical industries, steel industry also consumes much of fuel. Would you talk about energy efficiency solutions of this industry?
Steel industry is considered one of most energy- and fuel-intensive industries. Steel billet tempering technology is currently used by backward, small-capacity mills. Steel industry consumes 6 percent of coal, oil and electricity of all industries combined. Using outdated technologies, the time for tempering steel in Vietnam almost doubles the world average. Specifically, in 2010, to have one batch of steel, Vietnamese companies averagely spent 90-180 minutes (compared with 45-70 minutes of the world average) and consumed 550-690 kWh of electricity for one tonne (compared with 360-430 kWh per tonne of the world average). Given current reality, the steel industry can save up to 30-40 percent of energy costs if efficiency solutions are employed. Besides, energy costs presently tend to increase; thus, energy efficiency solutions and production cost reduction seem to be vital to all industries, including steel industry. Therefore, the steel industry necessarily accelerates tech application to reduce power consumption. Accordingly, the Vietnam Steel Corporation has reportedly made intensive investments to upgrade existing equipment, apply advanced techniques, and reorganise production to reduce energy consumption and increase efficiency in steel production. Specific measures include increasing power transformer capacity to shorten the time for melting; using wall and ceil-cooling water to prolong life span of furnaces; investing in scrap steel processors to clean scrap steel to shorten feeding time, reduce furnace-door opening and shutting times to reduce electricity consumed; using liquid iron in material mixing; replacing all electric furnaces with a capacity of less than 10 tonnes and rescheduling production time and equipment maintenance time. These measures have helped reduce nearly 20 percent of fuel used. Thanks to innovative solutions, the steel industry has boosted operating efficiency – the key for steelmakers to live through the crisis time and obtain sustainable development.
Does energy saving applications in industrial production bring in many benefits?
According to many recent researches, energy consumption of the construction sector accounts for 22.4 – 30 percent of the country’s total energy consumption. Therefore, the potential for energy conservation in the construction industry is also huge. Specifically, new projects can save up to 30-40 percent of energy if energy efficiency measures are applied, including choosing design solutions, using energy-saving materials, installing energy-efficient equipment, etc. Projects in use can also reduce 15-25 percent of energy if they perform energy audits and apply energy efficiency solutions. Besides, new building designs green buildings will be a practical action to respond to climate change and greenhouse gas emission. Last but not least, we also take into account a strategy for development of green, energy-efficient works.