Vietnamese and foreign experts and business executives at the Rice Husk Energy and Silica seminar held in HCM City yesterday. — VNS Photo.
Finding suitable technological solutions to turn rice husk into amorphous silica, a feedstock for many industries, would add huge value to the rice industry, a seminar heard in HCM City yesterday.
There is big demand for amorphous silica in the global market, Nguyễn Việt Hùng, chairman of BSB Investment and Development Co. Ltd, told the conference titled “Rice Husk Energy and Silica.”
It is a high-value chemical used in the production of a range of products such as steel, rubber, paint, glass, heat capturing materials, cosmetics, food, and health care.
Việt Nam produces around 50 million tonnes of rice a year and around 10 million tonnes of husk, which can potentially generate two million tonnes of ash containing over 90 per cent of amorphous silica with suitable technology, he said.
Rice husk is currently used for energy production through direct combustion or gasification, and the ash produced is mainly crystalline silica with low value, he said.
Dr Nguyễn Thị Hòe, chairwoman of KOVA Paint Group, said her company had successfully researched to produce paints using rice husk-derived nano silica materials.
It used to import the silica before doing research to turn rice husk into nano silica materials, she said.
Its products such as nano fireproofing paint and bacterium-sterilised paint, which is used in kindergartens and hospitals, are exported to dozens of countries, she said.
Her company has massive demand for nano silica.
Oleg Efisco, Russia-based CEO of Rice High Technologies (RHT), introduced his company’s modern and environmentally friendly technology to process rice husk that produces bio-mass energy in the form of electricity and heat besides silica (silicone dioxide).
Nguyễn Đăng Anh Thi, consultant at the International Finance Corporation, said the technology is popular in the world and adds value since it yields not only power but also high-value silica.
But he wondered how small milling plants would find outlets when they produce the substance.
The conference was organised by BSB, the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and RHT.