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Posts Tagged ‘saving’

Tougher measures needed for power saving

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Tougher measures needed for power saving

QĐND – Friday, December 17, 2010, 20:56 (GMT+7)

Developing electricity and controlling energy to sustain the national economy only focuses on supply resources without paying due attention to controlling electricity use, say energy experts.

According to Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Hoang Quoc Vuong, Vietnam consumes approximately 80 billion kWh of electricity every year. In 2010, the country has saved 1 percent of the total electricity output (around 1 billion kWh). If electricity use is applied strictly and properly, savings of 3-5 percent can be made.

Disregard of power saving

Around 3,000 households across the country consume high levels of electricity almost 3 million kWh/year. However, Vietnamese businesses give no or little attention to saving power. 25 percent of businesses say that it is impossible to save electricity. Only one business says it will try its best to invest more to save power and reduce electricity by half in the future. These figures were released by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Asian Institute of Competition in the third quarter of this year.

The Energy Saving Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) says that State and government agencies have devised a 10 percent power saving plan, but efficiency is still low due to a lack of solutions and sanctions. In addition, a cut in the number of lights on roads in provinces and cities and management of light systems for advertising and other services have proved inefficient.

The Chief of the MoIT Energy Saving Office, Nguyen Dinh Hiep, says that industry and construction have a great potential for power saving but most small and medium-sized enterprises involved in these two sectors find it difficult to save electricity because they still use outdated technology, which consumes greatly energy and requires huge costs to replace. In addition, technological renovation is an uphill task that needs more time to be dealt with.

Power saving needs a stricter process from production, transmission to consumption.
The Deputy Director of the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), Dang Hoang An says that by late 2008, EVN reduced the loss of electrical energy to 9.24 percent (under double figures). To reach the goal of reducing electrical energy loss for the following years, a score of measures need to be taken, with a focus on technical management, business administration and an upgrade of electricity networks.

EVN aims to reduce energy losses to below 8 percent by 2012. This is a challenging plan, as the electricity sector is facing a lot of difficulties such limited investments and the improper upgrading of electricity networks.

Another issue of concern is that the economy uses a lot of energy but the efficiency is not high. Vietnam leads many regional countries in electricity consumption, so it is clear that power savings must be in line with a target for reducing electricity use, says An.

An quotes the WB’s survey that efforts to create GDP from 1kWh electricity plants in Vietnam are poor. If Vietnam does not pay attention to saving electricity and natural resources in the next few years the country will face pressure in supply and demand.

Exhausting primary energy

National energy security is closely connected with primary energy. Vietnam will have to import around 30 million tonnes of coal per year by 2020, 57 million in 2025 and 121 million tonnes in 2030. Meanwhile world’s two largest coal producers– Indonesia and Australia – export around 200-210 million tonnes each.

According to EVN, 2015 will be the first year Vietnam will start to import coal. The country will import 30 million tonnes of coal in 2020, equal to one sixth of Indonesia’s total export volume. On December 22, 2010, the Lai Chau hydroelectric power plant will be inaugurated with a capacity of 1,200MW and will be the last big capacity hydroelectric power plant to be built.

The problem is where will Vietnam will buy coal and how the price of electricity will be affected at that time?

He added that it is time to balance energy needs because the country will have to import primary energy in the next five years. Ensuring national energy security, including electricity can happen only when there are proper measures to control supply and demand.

Nguyen Tien Chinh, head of the Department of Scientific Technology and Development Strategy of the Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group says that the country should consider carefully how much coal we have, when building thermal electric power plants which use coal. The country does not have clear plans for power savings and pays not enough attention to controlling imported technologies and uses too much energy for cement and steel plants.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND

Philippines, Norway vaults saving rice diversity

In Uncategorized on October 24, 2010 at 12:02 pm

AFP/File – A farmer separates rice grains from husks on a farm near Manila.

LOS BANOS, Philippines (AFP) – In a greenhouse near the Philippine capital, botanists grow strange grasses that bear tiny seeds which are promptly flown to a doomsday vault under Norway’s Arctic permafrost.

The Norway deliveries are just the newest facet of a decades-old effort by more than 100 countries to save the world’s many varieties of rice which might otherwise be lost.

A fire-proof, quake-proof, typhoon-proof gene bank set up by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines in 1962 now holds 115,000 varieties of one of the world’s most important grains.

“We’ve got genes stored which could potentially help us increase the yields of rice, improve pest tolerance and disease resistance, and help us address the effects of climate change,” IRRI geneticist Fiona Hay said.

The rice varieties are grown at IRRI’s sprawling complex at the university town of Los Banos, two hours’ drive south of Manila, so that they can be provided — free of charge — to farmers or governments around the world.

Yet Hay said that rice varieties were constantly being lost forever, despite the preservation efforts of IRRI, a non-profit organisation funded by governments, multilateral banks and philanthropists.

Such losses are under a global spotlight this week as delegates from more than 190 countries meet at a UN summit in Nagoya, Japan, to map out a strategy to stop the world’s rapid loss of biodiversity in all plants and animals.

A rice variety can easily vanish due to pests, disease, drought or other natural disasters like a cyclone, or if for some reason farmers simply stop planting it, Hay said.

Not just urbanisation, but even farming can push wild rice varieties into extinction.

And while some countries run their own gene banks, they are not always successful in preserving seeds. In the tropics, high humidity causes rice seeds to spoil after several years, Hay said.

At the IRRI gene bank in the Philippines, seeds are stored in dry and cool conditions and can remain usable for up to 40 years.

The institute keeps its base collection in tiny, sealed, bar-coded aluminium cans in a room kept at a temperature well below freezing.

They include a Malaysian variety that was collected soon after the gene bank opened in 1962, some reed-like Latin American ones that grow taller than a man, and Indian varieties that look more like crawling weeds.

Duplicates in small foil sachets of about 400 seeds each are stored in a separate vault kept at two degrees Celsius (35.6 Fahrenheit) and low humidity for passing on to those who need them for farming or research.

Given the importance of the collection, extra insurance is always desirable — hence the rice gene bank being duplicated in Svalbard, Norway, Hay told AFP on a tour last week of the Philippine facility.

Since the Svalbard seed vault opened in February 2008, IRRI has reproduced 70,000 of its own grains and sent them in tiny freeze-dried aluminium cans to northern Norway, in a series of flights that take four days.

One final delivery of about 40,000 varieties is due to be flown out from Manila airport this week to complete the project.

The seeds include those no longer grown by farmers, plus 4,000-odd weeds with genes harnessed by scientists to make the rice plant more aromatic and more resistant to pests and disease, and tolerant of drought and saltwater.

Once completed, the Norway facility will act as a further backup to a US Department of Agriculture vault in Colorado that already holds duplicates of IRRI’s seeds.

IRRI has in particular helped Cambodia’s farmers to recover from the ravages of war. The Khmer Rouge regime killed millions of people — many through starvation — and forced farmers to grow only certain rice varieties in the 1970s.

Flora de Guzman, senior research manager of the gene bank, said she had once processed a request by Cambodia to send back seeds for about 500 of their native rice varieties.

“They lost the materials during the war. We had the collection here, so between 1981 and 1989 we repatriated the varieties that they lost,” she said.

Source: SGGP

Relevant agencies tardy in saving Dong Nai River: city mayor

In Uncategorized on July 30, 2010 at 11:18 am

Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee chairman Le Hoang Quan complained at a meeting relevant agencies have been tardy to implement measures to save the Sai Gon River, stressing the river is the main water supply for 140 industrial and processing parks in the city and nearly 16 million residents.

A section of Dong Nai River in the southern province of DOng Nai’s district Vinh Cuu (Photo: Bao Uyen)

The conference, held by the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee on July 29, met to discuss measures to protect Sai Gon River. Pollution in the Dong Nai River, the main water source for millions of people in the southern region, was a hot topic again at a recent working session of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee on the day.

Vo Quang Chau, Deputy General Director of the Saigon Water Corporation (SAWACO), warned that the quality of the river’s water was deteriorating. The warning was based on statistics from regular Sai Gon and Dong Nai water tests conducted in July. Test results confirmed that water quality failed to meet the national standards and low salinity levels further complicates matters.

A representative from the center’s Drainage System Management Office told the meeting that half of city canals discharge waste into the river, worsening the situation. The dumping of industrial and household refuse and wastewater into the river has overrun it with harmful elements, including bacteria and ammonia, at levels ten times higher than regulations permit.

Moreover, recent illegal methodologies, such as to discharge untreated waste have become more difficult to detect, Environment Police complained. Most factories have secretly discharged waste underground.

In addition, the overlapped management of rivers and canals and the granting of licenses between ministries and departments made have rendered management efforts ineffective.

Mr. Quan ordered the city Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DoNRE) to set up a steering committee on water protection to manage river and canal water quality, as well as grant discharge licenses to enterprises. The committee must also closely cooperate with provincial local governments to oversee the wastewater discharges.

Nguyen Van Phuoc, deputy head of DoNRE, said they would release a list of factories that are releasing pollution into the river, threatening to impose severe penalties on violating firms. In addition, the city will build more automatic water monitoring systems along the river, as well as raise residents’ awareness of environment protection.

The city major asked the Environmental Police to work out regulations to shut down factories that have repeatedly committed violations for one to three three months or in severe cases, forever. All departments must begin implementing measures to save the dying river by September.

The 437-kilometer Dong Nai River, which supplies water to around 15 million people, originates in Lam Dong Province’s Lang Biang highlands and flows toward the East Sea through 12 provinces in the country. In 2005, Dak Nong, Dak Lak, Lam Dong, Binh Thuan, Ninh Thuan, Binh Phuoc, Dong Nai, Binh Duong, HCMC, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Long An and Tay Ninh provinces pledged to impose harsh penalties on companies causing pollution, to force 70 percent of industrial parks to construct waste treatment systems in 2007. However, as yet, this pledge has not been fulfilled.

Source: SGGP

Young architects saving the best of old Hanoi

In Vietnam Lifestyle on September 10, 2009 at 8:05 am

Instead of grasping opportunities for good jobs in foreign companies, seven years ago, a group of young architects in Hanoi decided to choose a more challenging path. Using advanced 3D technology, they put their common efforts into making images of the capital’s architectural heritage built in the 19th century French architectural style.

                    Dinh Viet Phuong

Old sidewalks with cracks covered with moss and houses with ancient roofs silently hiding under large, green canopies of trees are Dinh Viet Phuong’s constant dreams about a Hanoi of more than sixty years ago. The young architect feels sad when witnessing more and more sights of the scenic city being damaged by modern encroachment.

Such an obsession prodded Phuong and nine of his colleagues to join hands to conduct a daring project, in which they produced virtual pictures for the ancient city of Hanoi some 100 years before by making use of advanced 3D technology.

That was in 2002 when the 3D Hanoi Group was found. Among them, some were university graduates, the others were still sitting in lecture halls of universities.

The project started with no funds, but the love for Hanoi was a powerful motivation for all the members of the group, said Phuong.

He explained, “It’s probably a common habit that people always ask for funds when doing something. If they don’t have money, they won’t have the courage to do it. I and my colleagues at the time viewed things in a different way. We thought that success wouldn’t come to us unless we went to it. If we dared to do something and did it successfully, everything would come after all.”

Phuong recalled, “To earn our daily bread, we all had to go to work like other people. The only period of time we could work for the project was at night. After 9pm, we began to sit at our desks and concentrated hard on our work until 4am the following day.”

At the outset, the members of the group were confused because none of them had an idea about what Hanoi actually looked exactly like some 100 years ago. The reference materials they had did not seem to be very helpful for their work because, “many of them turned out to be unreliable. The more we based designs on them, the more we were misled,” said Phuong.

Each of them finally had no choice but to rummage around libraries or search on the Internet for more information and then checked the facts obtained with historians. It took them four years to finish the first virtual pictures of the ancient capital.

To exhibit their work, the group had to spend their own money on hiring a gallery. After the exhibition, they pooled money to open a small coffee shop on Ma May Street so that “we could hang our virtual paintings on the walls,” said Phuong.

Sitting in the café, drinkers can live in a nostalgic atmosphere, surrounded by lamp-posts, street cafés and old spotted walls of ancient Hanoi. They can even close their eyes and imagine what it must have been like on a street in the capital on a winter’s afternoon in 1946.

That is the scene of soldiers in kaki walking mightily on a street. Along both sides of the street was chaos, created by bombardments and artillery, while red flags were flying above the roofs of undamaged houses.

Hang Chieu Street, a virtual picture by 3D Hanoi Group

After the exhibition, many members of the group went to study abroad. Phuong kept on collecting reference materials for the project and transformed information from the old materials into street corners and red-brick roofs for his virtual pictures.

At present, there are only five members in the group because “Some have already quit the project, while others got back from their overseas study and resumed the virtual work,” explained Phuong.

In early 2009, with the intention of building an online museum about Hanoi, the 3D Hanoi Group worked with, an architecture and building website, to carry out another project to make the virtual images of ancient streets and urban architectural heritage under French colonialism in Hanoi by making use of advanced 3D techniques.

Architects of the two sides are working day and night to make each detail of each building or villa appear sharp and clear in a three-dimensional space, based on related technical parameters left by the French.

The virtual pictures not merely demonstrate sights and architecture, but also living and trading styles of Hanoians a century ago.

Le Viet Ha, founder of said, “Through the depiction of the beauty of ancient Hanoi via virtual pictures, we wish to appeal to people to treasure and preserve what Hanoi has now.” 

Source: SGGP