Millers leading the green way

KUALA KUBU BARU: PALM oil millers in Malaysia are leading the way in "greening" the palm oil supply chain by capturing dirty greenhouse gas before it enters the atmosphere and turning it into clean energy.

"A total of 79 palm oil mills across Malaysia have installed biogas plants to capture greenhouse gas," said Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas. 

“If all mills capture and use this biogas, up to 20 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions can be mitigated per year," he said.

This, in terms of carbon dioxide emissions, is equivalent to about removing four million cars off the road," he told reporters after launching a bio-Compressed Natural Gas (bio-CNG), the first in the world to source from oil palm waste, here yesterday.

These waste-to-energy plants helps lower greenhouse gas emissions. Planters get to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels, too.

Uggah said the government mandates eco-friendly projects by the palm oil industry in championing Malaysia's commitments to reduce carbon emissions by up to 40 per cent in 2020. 

The bio-CNG Commercial Plant, located at Felda Sg Tengi estate, is a joint project with Malaysian Palm Oil Board, Felda Palm Industries Sdn Bhd and Sime Darby Offshore Engineering Sdn Bhd. 

The plant is able to process 600 cubic metre of raw biogas generated from palm oil mill effluent lagoons.

These are then channelled into closed biogas digesters to produce bio-CNG as an alternative to fossil-based fuels such as liquefied petroleum gas and medium fuel oil.

It must be highlighted that bio-CNG is not able to substitute piped natural gas which is currently sold at an average subsidized rate of RM21.80 per mmBtu. (British thermal units parts per million).

Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad said the group has, so far, set up 25 biogas plants throughout its estates in Malaysia.

"By 2020, we aim to push this figure to 51. As the world’s largest crude palm oil producer, we're committed to reducing our carbon footprint and improving our environmental friendly practices for the benefit of our community," Isa added.

Sime Darby Bhd is partnering Gas Malaysia Bhd on a 51:49 basis to distribute bio-CNG, a new and growing business. This initiative to supply bio-CNG to new customers will be driven by Sime Darby Offshore Engineering Sdn Bhd.