John Cockerill, the mechanical engineering group from Belgium, is working with ministries and local authorities to reach an agreement to develop a hydrogen factory after conducting a field survey in the southern province of Tra Vinh. This was part of John Cockerill CEO Francois Michel's mission during his recent business trip to Vietnam.
According to Francois Michel, an agreement was reached to develop a hydrogen factory in Tra Vinh, and a factory to produce activated carbon from coconut shells and other by-products of coconut trees in the southern province of Ben Tre, following a meeting with Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on May 17.
He said that the group is keen to explore new investment opportunities in Vietnam and diversify into the local market and the wider region.
At the meeting, the Prime Minister stressed Vietnam's significant potential for developing renewable energy, especially wind and solar power, while also highlighting the country's recent approval of Power Development Plan VIII, which follows key guidelines such as 'openness and dynamism' that appeal to foreign investors.
Once the John Cockerill project is complete, it will be the second hydrogen factory in Tra Vinh. In March, TGS Tra Vinh Green Hydrogen JSC held the ground-breaking ceremony for its Tra Vinh green hydrogen factory in Dong Hai commune, Duyen Hai district.
Covering an area of 21 hectares, the TGS Tra Vinh factory saw a total investment of nearly VND8 trillion ($341 million) and was the largest hydrogen production project in Vietnam so far.
The project produces hydrogen from electrolysis of seawater, and the generated hydrogen can be stored as a liquid gas, suitable for use in many fields and easily transported. It is expected that after the project is completed and put into operation, the factory will reach an output of 24,000 tonnes of hydrogen per year, and 195,000 tonnes of oxygen per year, creating jobs for 300–500 workers.
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Investors are ramping up the development of hydrogen to meet the rising energy demand in Vietnam.
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With economic growth of more than 8 per cent in 2022, Vietnam’s rapidly growing economy can be viewed with some envy for having achieved its fastest economic growth since 1997 while the global average only saw a small 3.3 per cent. This economic growth is coinciding with increases in energy demand and requires innovative solutions to ensure energy security.
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Hydrogen production facilities in Vietnam are attracting interest in accelerating the transition to clean and renewable energy, but the lack of a price mechanism and high costs of infrastructure and operations are key bottlenecks in procurement.