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International Business Seminar Series: "Green!Tea: Renewable Energy for the Vietnamese tea sector"

Vietnam is one of Southeast Asia’s economic powerhouses. What would the appropriate business model look like for tea farmers? How can tea-based agriculture contribute to the carbon sequestration? To what degree can the tea production be optimized by agrivoltaics systems? Attend our latest IBSS event and learn more from the Swiss-Vietnamese Green!Tea team.

Vietnam aspires to high-quality agricultural production with a view to lucrative export markets, while transitioning towards more renewable forms of energy production to meet COP26 commitments. Solar power and biomass from productive forests are meant to support this transition. Yet, the limited availability of land creates tensions between agricultural production and renewable energy production. In addition, soil health degradation and droughts driven by climate change lead to high inputs of fertilizers and reliance on energy for irrigation. The combination of agrivoltaics (i.e., photovoltaic installations above cropland) and pyrolysis of biomass to produce heat and biochar is a promising approach to reduce production costs, while boosting energy and resource efficiency of farming communities and enabling them to produce high-quality agricultural goods. The wide-spread adoption of such a technological setting has the potential to reinforce Vietnam’s position on international markets, while making a substantial contribution to its energy transition.

The Green!Tea project, co-funded by the Swiss Confederation and its REPIC platform, aims to design a pilot integrated agrivoltaic-pyrolysis system including characteristics (business model, partnerships, costs and revenues for farmers, legal aspects, etc.) to be implemented in the tea-producing province of Nghe An or other tea-growing provinces.

During the seminar, the Green!Tea team from Vietnam and Switzerland will give an update on progress in Green!Tea’s four work packages: three focussing on soil, pyrolysis and agrivoltaic processes and one dedicated to the business model aspects and implementation roadmap. In each work package, knowledge transfer takes place between Swiss/European and Vietnamese partners, with a strong involvement of the local private sector. The key deliverable of the project is a proof of concept that can be validated and refined in a pilot plant.

Dr. Grégoire Meylan who leads through the event is a lecturer and Senior Project Manager at the School of Management and Law. One of his focuses is on the implementation of circular economy in Swiss companies. He is also involved in the research and development of clean technologies in emerging countries within the framework of technical cooperation such as in the Green!Tea project.