The USASCP team met with representatives from the Da Nang Hi Tech Park and the Da Nang Hi Tech Park incubator program.

Two members from the EAP/MLA Foreign Assistance team visited the Da Nang Hi Tech Park and 5RTECH, one of the six recipients of the 2022 Business Innovation Fund in Da Nang, Vietnam. The Smart Cities Business Innovation Fund provided six ASEAN start-ups with seed funding to support their low carbon innovations addressing urban challenges. 5RTECH is a solar panel reuse and and recycling company, proactively addressing a future waste problem in Vietnam. Solar panels have a 15 to 20 year lifespan. Solar panels began to be incorporated in Vietnamese infrastructure in the past 10 to 15 years, and are due to reach the end of their life cycles in the near future. Solar panels provide a form of renewable energy, but once the solar EV panels reach their end of life cycle, the critical/rare earth minerals they are comprised of go directly to landfills and create toxic waste. 5RTECH aims to combat this problem by disassembling the EV panels, separating the critical/rare earth minerals, and reselling the materials. Prior to disassembling and recycling EV panels, 5RTECH will test the used solar panels to see if they meet a 70% efficiency threshold for reuse.

The visit to the Da Nang Hi-Tech Park highlighted increased investment in the region and introduced ongoing projects and companies active at the hi-tech park. The Da Nang Hi-Tech Park is the third, and newest hi-tech park in Vietnam in addition to the ones in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. It is 60 hectares in size and divided into two zones: a manufacturing zone and a research and development zone. Currently there are a handful of companies with operations in the park. The majority of the park remains unoccupied, and the hi-tech park team is actively trying to increase foreign companies’ investments in the park. The team expressed their desire to engage more U.S. companies, and welcomed U.S. policy recommendations for incubation programs and environmental standards.

USASCP visit 5RTECH staff at their new facility.

The Da Nang Hi-Tech Park facilitates incubation programs each year, and 5RTECH was one of the first graduates of their two-year incubation program. The park provides selected incubators with subsidized office space in the R&D zone, with the hope that once incubators bring their product to market, they can expand and build factories in the park’s manufacturing zone. 5RTECH has outgrown their initial office, and has moved to a nearby facility as they continue to test and build the five modules for their solar panel reuse and recycling technology.

5RTECH demonstrates modules 2 and 3 for USASCP.
5RTECH hopes to complete modules 4 and 5 in the coming months.