Dr. Le Van Tri, a scientist of farmers

(VOVWORLD) - A research project by Dr. Le Van Tri, General Director of the Biotechnology Joint Stock Company, has won a prize from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Tri’s research will help farmers improve the value of the citronella oil they produce. VOV’s Ngoc Anh reports.
Dr. Le Van Tri, a scientist of farmers - ảnh 1

Dr. Le Van Tri (right) won the first prize of Vietnam Fund for Supporting Technological Creations (VIFOTEC) on May 16 (Photo: vnexpress.net) 

Tri’s research project “Intensive cultivation of citronella on lands affected by climate change to produce oil for consumption and export and the manufacture of microbial organic fertilizer” won a prize from the WIPO and also won first prize at the 2016 Vietnam Scientific and Technological Innovation Awards for technologies that respond to climate change, protect the environment, and use natural resources more efficiently.

In 2012, Dr. Tri took home a WIPO prize for research that led to the manufacture of Fito-Biomix RR, a fertilizer made from straw. Le Dang Tho is Director of the Vietnam Fund for Supporting Technological Creations (VIFOTEC): “VIFOTEC has held 23 Vietnam Scientific and Technological Innovation Awards. The prize-winning research has been applied to production and has brought great economic benefits”.

The project which won Dr. Le Van Tri a WIPO prize in 2016 is a technological breakthrough which shows great economic promise. Mr. Tri said: “People mainly use citronella for food or to get rid of a seafood smell, but they throw away their leaves. That’s wasteful. Current technology for extracting citronella oil is not cost effective. I’ve invented a technology to collect more oil in less time at a lower cost. After the oil is extracted, the megas is used to produce fertilizer”.

Citronella grows well in many different soils and is resistant to drought and salt intrusion. It also commands a price per kilogram 7 or 8 times higher than rice. According to Dr. Tri, the closed loop of “growing citronella, extracting the oil, and producing fertilizer” generates around 6,000 USD a year per hectare. After citronella, Dr. Tri plans to apply his oil extraction technology to other plants such as anise and cinnamon: “We plan to build a citronella oil industry by 2025. Vietnam may become the world’s leading citronella oil producer. We have worked with ministries and sectors to fund more research projects on extracting essential oils”.

Dr. Le Van Tri has conducted 80 research projects, received 19 patents for his inventions, and holds the Asian record for most inventions in biotechnology.