On average, they take some three and a half years to grow and the trees can be harvested, said Chau Hung Dung, owner of HD Wood Ca Mau Co. Ltd. Years ago, Dung was a gold and jewelery trader in Ca Mau. He turned to the forest planting and wood processing business in 2017 by acquiring Ca Mau Wood Processing and Export Co. Ltd. and then changed its name to HD Wood Ca Mau Co. Ltd., which now owns some 1700 hectares of wetland forest that feeds a wood chip mill and a wood pellet factory. The company owns forests and 8 hectares of factory space capable of expanding from 5,000 tons to 30,000 tons of wood pellets per month, creating jobs for some 500 workers and contributing toward a green environment.

The acacia tree is easy to grow and quick to harvest. The tree can be used for several purposes such as wood chips for paper, wood chips and wood pellets for biomass power generation and the skin can be used to replace soil in hydroponic farms.

There is a growing demand for the export of wood chips and wood pellets from Vietnam to Japan. Since 2018, Vietnam's biomass material exports to Japan have surpassed Canada and the demand for imports of biomass material from Japan is growing as its government has a policy for biomass power plant investors in order to reduce coal-fired power sectors. The demand for biomass material imports from Japan is growing to some 20 million tons per year and is forecast to grow further.

From 2010~2019, Japan invested some US$202 billion in renewable energy and this is likely to grow further


By 2019, Vietnam exported about 800,000 ton of biomass material to Japan

The business circle of HD Wood Ca Mau, a typical forest creation entrepreneur in Ca Mau Province

We discovered that there is a huge potential to grow acacia forests in Ca Mau as well as in nearby provinces such as Kien Giang. This will help increase the income of residents and create a green environment as part of sustainable efforts to reduce the impact of climate change in Vietnam.

Besides exporting wood pellets to Japan, companies such as HD Wood Ca Mau can collaborate with biomass generation technology in Japan to invest in biomass power plants right in the province. It could be a completely eco-friendly business circle and very sustainable: growing acacia trees, harvesting them, producing electricity and repeating the cycle. Besides solar and wind power generation, Vietnam offers great potential for biomass power generation that the central and local Governments should consider.

About the author: Atsushi Kanai is president & CEO of JPBM Research Investment Co. Ltd. based in Tokyo. He used to serve as general manager of the Tokyo Bank branch (now Mitsubishi UFJ Bank) in Hong Kong and head of JPBM Research Investment Co. Ltd., a private institute for investment and investment research, M&A services in Japan and Asia. JPBM is now advising on renewable projects, including biomass power generation in Japan and Asia.