Sofies-Emac – Vietnam

Swiss Partners

Sofies-Emac AG, Zurich,,
Martin Fritsch, Hannes Zellweger

Ökozentrum Langenbruck,,
Martin Schmid

Project Type:

Establishment of market structures


Resource efficiency



Project Status:


Project Start:


End of Project:





Swiss Contribution

Sofies-Emac has expertise in the area of clean production technologies (Cleaner Production) in food production, especially in the coffee and rice sectors. The Swiss Ökozentrum Langenbruck has many years of experience in the development of sustainable energy technologies and projects for developing countries. Both partners also developed the pyrolysis system prototype in a previous REPIC project (Contract 2013.05).


Traditional sun-drying of coffee is more and more being replaced by artificial drying beds or tower driers, which use coffee hulls as a heat source. However, the burners of such equipment are inefficient and cause heavy smoke emissions. Thanks to its great adaptability, pyrolysis technology can offer a wide range of suitable solutions. It efficiently valorises organic agricultural waste, while generating two main products: clean heat, which can be used for drying, and biochar which can be used for soil enrichment. This project aims at introducing pyrolysis plants in Vietnam’s agricultural sector; first targeting coffee cherry drying.


The first plant is in use. It is larger than the prototype developed at the Ökozentrum and has two and an half times more capacity. 100 kg of pulp can be processed per hour; with production of about 30 kg of biochar and 250 kW of thermal power. This is enough to dry four tons of coffee cherries in 20 hours, in a four-ton dryer. The smoke emissions meet Swiss standards. More studies are needed for the biochar, in order to better characterize it, to optimize its use and to assess its soil enrichment potential.


The Swiss experts are working closely with a Vietnamese manufacturer (Viet Hien Mechanical Ltd.) to adapt the pyrolysis plant to local needs and conditions. Know-how transfer for local production has been carried out. The international integration of pyrolysis is underway, in cooperation with the main coffee trade actors.