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Turning Liabilities into Assets: Rice Industry Profile


The opportunity to turn liabilities into assets is easily demonstrated in the Asian rice industry.  For every ton of rice hulls produced, an additional 3 tons of straw is also generated. 

Rice straw burning from fieldCommon practice in many countries is burning rice straw in the field (see image at left) to remove what has accumulated after harvest, causing methane and particulate matter pollution. Through CDS equipment, this environmental liability can be turned into the profitable industrial assets of electricity, thermal energy and biochar. This serves to offset the carbon footprint of producing, processing and distributing rice, while also increasing profits and global food security.

In Vietnam alone, 23 million tons of rice straw is produced each year; what is not burned in the field is typically burned elsewhere, but inefficiently. Both methods result in methane and particulate matter emissions. 

Not only can these emissions be entirely avoided, but accumulating straw and rice hulls at the mill can be pyrolyzed with one or more CDS systems to produce electricity and thermal energy to run the milling operations. 

In addition, 35% of the original feedstock weight is turned into biochar that can be put back on the rice fields to profitably increase soil fertility and simultaneously create a carbon sink.

If Vietnam's total 31 million tons of rice crop wastes — 8 million tons (MT) of hulls plus 23 MT of straw — were pyrolyzed using CDS systems, it would create annually 10 million tons of biochar. This is roughly equivalent to 34 million tons of CO2e sequestration, plus 2,300 MW of electricity derived from a totally renewable energy source.

See also: Other industries

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