Utilisation Trends: Coal Ash in Việt Nam

- Việt Nam

The Department of Industrial Safety and Environment at the Ministry of Industry and Trade is currently addressing the country’s need to maximize the use of coal fly ash from local coal fired power stations. Deputy Director, Phạm Trọng Thực confirms that the two main issues of last year were the production of fly ash from thermal power plants and chemical fertilizer plants. 

Vietnamese power stations produce about thirteen million tonnes of fly ash and plaster per year, 65% of which comes from power generators in the north.  At the moment, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT), only 38.9% is being used as a raw material. The primary product utilizing coal fly ash in Viet Nam is gypsum boarding, used in civil construction.

The progressive policies for using coal ash from power plants and fertilizer plants to manufacture building material products have been enacted since 2014 nation wide. The goal of these initiatives was to help solve the big issue of disposal, and aid construction costs by offering a cheap alternative to sand and other filler aggregates.

VINACHEM (Việt Nam Chemical Group) is a good example of a company taking full advantage of these environmental regulations aimed at reducing landfilling of coal fly ash.  Cooperating with a local gypsum company, the group is able to produce 750,000 tonnes of cement per year, using coal ash as its base additive. The group has also recently expanded, building another cement plant that aims to produce 600,000 tonnes per year, with the same coal ash additive.

However, delay in industry adaptation has been linked to concerns with the problems associated with the use coal fly ash in construction materials. Taxing, as well as proper handling and utilization practices are among top concerns of manufacturers and legislators. MOIT has executed their newest initiative for safe handling and sourcing by reducing the importation of gypsum, as well as monitoring the exploitation of natural gypsum in the country. The MOIT will continue to work with the Việt Nam Chemical Group and other organizations like it to develop quality assurance criteria for construction projects and production of materials used in construction.

Securing Resources in Indonesia: Demand for Coal to Double by 2023

- South Sumatra, Indonesia

The growing need for power generation in Indonesia has PLN, an Indonesian government-owned corporation that has a monopoly on electricity distribution in Indonesia, vying to secure coal mines across the country. The 5 mines being considered will help support 40% of what is needed for the next 4 years, of PLN’s projected supply needs.

PLN (Perusahaan Listrik Negara) generates the majority of the country's electrical power, producing 176.4 TWh in 2015 alone. Last year, Indonesia’s power grid used up approximately 95 million tons of coal.

The projections according to Sofyan Basir, the President Director of PLN, is that the demand for coal will rise to 180 million tons per annum by 2023.

The mines currently being targeted for acquisition are in Southern part of Sumatra and Kalimantan, respectively. PLN is not disclosing how much the mines will cost all together, but that the two of the five mines they are looking to purchase, are being targeted for this year.

Due to controlled prices and abundant resources of coal in the region, PLN plans to increase its use of coal for power generation by over 8% (currently 50%, aiming at around 58.5%).

The buying of mines seems to be coming at a time where PLN is aiming to position themselves firmly as the lead energy providers for Indonesia. Currently, the mines owned by PLN contribute only 10% of the coal used in their coal fired power stations every year.

Basir asserts that the company is not concerned with whether there is a local power station near the coal supplies, as long as there is access, and reserves of minimum 100 million tons, the company is dedicated to building power stations wherever these supplies exist.

Ensuring coal supplies is crucial for the company and by extension the government that overseas operations. Heightened demand for supplies and limited access to resources could spell higher electricity prices for consumers. Current president Joko “Jokowi “ Widodo’s policies are in line with keeping electricity prices low, and keeping local coal local. The policy calls for keeping 25% of coal produced in Indonesia in the local market, with the price being capped at $70 per ton.

Only time will tell what this increase of coal utilisation in the Indonesian market will do for connected industries in coal ash utilisation. Indonesia’s landfilling and utilisation policies will have to adjust to make way for this massive increase in the use of coal.

Monumental Merger Pending for China’s Huadian

- China

Two of China’s largest state owned electricity producers are currently awaiting state approval for one of the country’s largest utilities mergers in history. China Datang Corp. and China Huadian Corp. stand to form the largest power generator by capacity. Shares for both companies rose as news hit from inside sources at the beginning of the month. Datang’s listed unit Datang International Power Generation Co. rose as much as 5.6% on the Hong Kong stock exchange. Huadian subsidiary Huadian Power International Corp. added as much as 2.2%. China Datang Corp. Renewable Power Co. and Huadian Fuxin Energy Corp. both advanced 2%(Click below to check up on stock progression).

The China State Council will now decide if the merger will move forward and be finalized.

“To see this merger go through will be in line with current objectives China has to stay competitive globally by consolidating publicly owned enterprises within the same industry,” Amy Wu, Director at the Institute for Information Technology for the Building Materials Industry, and AsianCAA’s secretary general, in Beijing. “Many industries are moving towards getting rid of excess capacity, since the economic turmoil of 2015.  Law makers are also pursuing legislation which lowers China’s dependence on coal, and focuses more on sustainable energy”.

The current largest generator in the world position belongs to China Energy Investment Corp, another State owned enterprise. The Datang-Huadian merger would stand to surpass the CEICs capacity by almost 60 gigawatts. The multi billion dollar deal will place Datang Huadian approximately 50 billion ahead of China’s current power generation powerhouse.

For now the companies, and the government, are keeping very hush, providing no comment on progress or status of the deal.

Click Below for Stock Info:

Datang International Power Generation Co.

Huadian Power International Corp.

China Datang Corp. Renewable Power Co.

Huadian Fuxin Energy Corp