Vietnam possesses a gigantic biomass reserve estimated at around 200 million tons of oil equivalent (TOE), accounting for approximately 25% of the total renewable energy potential of the country.

1. Current State of Vietnam's Energy Sector

Vietnam's energy sector is developing at a rapid pace. The country's electricity production has increased nearly 30 times in recent years. By the end of 2021, the total installed capacity of the national power system reached 76,620 MW, making Vietnam the country with the largest power system in ASEAN and ranking 23rd in the world.


Despite Vietnam's potential to develop renewable energy sources, especially solar, wind, and biomass energy, the country's energy sector still heavily relies on traditional energy sources like coal and oil. This dependence has serious environmental and human health consequences and poses economic risks in the context of rising global energy prices. Additionally, Vietnam has to import a significant amount of fossil fuels to meet domestic energy demands, which places a strain on the national budget.

2. Major Biomass Sources in Vietnam

Vietnam has significant potential for biomass energy development due to favorable natural conditions such as a hot and humid climate, abundant rainfall, fertile land, an extensive river system, and a long coastline, which contribute to rapid and abundant biomass growth. Particularly, with agriculture accounting for a large share of the economy, Vietnam possesses a "huge" biomass reserve estimated at around 200 million tons of oil equivalent (TOE), accounting for about 25% of the country's total renewable energy potential.


  • Agricultural Waste: As an agricultural country, Vietnam has vast potential for biomass energy from rice straw, rice husks, sugarcane bagasse, and animal manure, estimated at 23 million tons per year, making up about 30% of the total potential, equivalent to 15 million TOE. Agricultural waste is used for electricity, heat production, and fertilizer.
  • Wood and Forest By-products: Wood is the primary biomass source in Vietnam, accounting for about 40% of the total potential, equivalent to 20 million TOE. Wood is used for electricity generation, heat, and biofuel production.
  • Urban Waste: Including household and industrial waste, urban waste makes up about 30% of the total potential, equivalent to 15 million TOE. Urban waste is used for electricity generation, heat, and fertilizer.


3. Applications of Biomass Energy in Vietnam

Following the global energy transition trend, the Vietnamese government is promoting the use of renewable energy sources to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and ensure the sustainability of Vietnam's energy sector in the future.

Biomass energy is considered one of the important energy sources, with targets to achieve approximately 2.5-3% of total electricity production by 2030 and 4.5-5% by 2045. Policies to support and encourage investment have been introduced to attract investors in this sector. Currently, biomass energy in Vietnam is utilized in various fields, with different levels of application across industries.


Converting certain forms of biomass, such as rice husks and straw, into bioenergy helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions in two ways. Firstly, it avoids the release of CO2 and air pollution from burning. Secondly, processing agricultural by-products in bioenergy plants helps manage waste and replaces fossil fuel sources. While burning still emits CO2, the amount is significantly less compared to burning fossil fuels, and it corresponds to the CO2 absorbed by the plants during their growth.

Developing biomass electricity contributes to national energy security, reduces environmental pollution, improves costs, and increases production efficiency for businesses in the energy, agriculture, forestry, and marine industries, research, training, and innovation. According to Vietnam's Power Development Plan, the goal is for biomass energy to account for 1.2% and 2.1% of the national electricity output by 2025 and 2030, respectively, with a capacity of 1,200 MW and 3,000 MW.


Biomass pellets are becoming a promising export commodity for Vietnam due to the high demand for fuel in industrial manufacturing plants and thermal power plants worldwide. Biomass pellets, produced from rice husks, wood scraps, and sawdust, are an optimal clean energy source for combustion systems. Using biomass pellets is one of the solutions for the energy transition, aiming towards Vietnam's commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.


Biomass energy is also used to produce liquid biofuels, with three common types being bioethanol and biodiesel.

  • Bioethanol: This can completely replace gasoline derived from oil or be mixed with the gasoline to create biofuel used directly in conventional gasoline engines without modification. Using biofuel reduces dependence on imported gasoline produced from oil, enhances the octane rating of gasoline, and lowers harmful emissions.
  • Biodiesel: This diesel is produced from biological materials, primarily consisting of methyl esters of fatty acids. Compared to traditional diesel produced from oil, biodiesel has several environmental advantages, such as lower sulfur content, biodegradability, and reduced air pollution.


Biogas systems in livestock farming contain waste, manure, and urine from animals like pigs, chickens, and cows. Here, the organic waste in the manure decomposes in an anaerobic environment, breaking down into soluble substances and gases through the action of microorganisms. The final products of these processes are methane and carbon dioxide. The collected gas can be used for daily activities such as cooking, lighting, and other domestic needs.


4. Opportunities for Biomass Energy Development in Vietnam

With a tropical monsoon climate, hot and humid weather, and frequent rainfall, Vietnam has favorable conditions for rapid biomass growth. The abundant supply of biomass from vegetation, along with the development of agriculture and forestry, ensures a steady availability of biomass materials in Vietnam.


Environmental organizations encourage the development of biomass energy in Vietnam due to its short cycle. Developing biomass energy plays a crucial role in ensuring national energy security, reducing environmental pollution, improving costs, and increasing production efficiency for businesses.

The Vietnamese government has already planned the development of the biomass energy sector. To promote renewable energy use, the government has introduced several support policies for businesses investing in this sector, including tax reductions and subsidies for biomass energy development projects. This will attract investors and create numerous opportunities for the growth of biomass energy production and related industries in Vietnam.

Additionally, the government has introduced policies to encourage investment in biomass energy, such as:

  • Encouraging Investment in Renewable Energy: The government has issued various support policies, including import tax exemptions for renewable energy production equipment, tax reductions, and financial support for renewable energy projects.
  • Investment in the Power Grid: The government is investing in upgrading the national power grid to connect renewable energy projects to the national grid.
  • Promoting Biomass Energy Development: The government is investing in research and development for biomass energy, including seeking new technologies, enhancing cooperation with international partners, and establishing research and training centers.

5. Challenges in Developing Biomass Energy in Vietnam

With rapid economic growth and an increasing population, Vietnam's energy demand is rising, and the biomass energy sector will play a crucial role in meeting the demand for both consumer and industrial electricity. However, the development of this energy source in Vietnam faces several challenges:

  • Investment Costs: The investment costs for biomass energy projects are relatively high because biomass resources are often dispersed and difficult to collect and transport. Additionally, biomass energy production technologies are still new and not fully developed, requiring further investment and time for improvement.
  • Infrastructure: Biomass energy infrastructure in Vietnam is limited. Biomass power plants, biofuel processing facilities, and biomass energy distribution systems are not yet comprehensively developed.
  • Policies: Supportive policies for biomass energy development in Vietnam are still insufficient, leading to limited implementation and expansion of biomass energy applications.



Biomass energy is considered one of the most important renewable energy sources for the future. As fossil fuels are depleting, their prices fluctuating, and their supply becoming unstable, especially with their negative environmental impacts, the emergence and development of biomass energy are being strongly promoted worldwide.

In the future, biomass energy can play a significant role in meeting human energy needs, improving environmental quality, and mitigating the impacts of climate change. Technologies for the production and use of biomass energy are also being researched and developed to optimize production efficiency and minimize environmental impact.

Biomass energy is still relatively new in Vietnam's renewable energy market. There have been many studies and development projects for this type of energy, but most have not been widely implemented. Major barriers include the lack of comprehensive information on modern technologies, limited capacity and knowledge of operational teams, difficulties in accessing appropriate financial mechanisms, particularly issues related to dispersed, seasonal, and unsustainable biomass resources, and uncontrolled pricing.

The future of biomass energy is very promising with numerous potential exploitation and development projects. Therefore, this is an essential criterion that any manufacturing business should not overlook if they wish to enhance their competitiveness in both Vietnamese and international markets.


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