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Malaysian biogas project to tap palm oil industry emissions

Camco Southeast Asia, a regional clean energy company, will build a 2-megawatt biogas project in Malaysia that will make use of methane pollutants found in the country’s palm oil mills.

To be set up at a leading palm oil mill in Malaysia’s Pahang state, the biogas project will use anaerobic digestion technology for breaking down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen.

The biomass plant is planned to significantly help recover large amounts of energy from palm oil mill effluent, a solid waste that contains about 65 percent of the atmosphere pollutant methane.

Palm oil mill effluent across Malaysia’s more than 1,000 palm oil plantations is a critical concern among owners, local communities and the country, since it heavily contributes to national carbon emissions. Malaysia is one of the largest producers and exporters of palm oil.

This makes the biomass project supportive of efforts to curb the industry’s environmental footprint. In the coming years, palm oil producers have to brace themselves for the increasing pressure to reduce waste from their production processes.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian government has just recently implemented a renewable energy feed-in tariff to reward efforts in converting waste into energy.

When operational by early 2013, electricity generated will be purchased by one of Malaysia’s utilities under a renewable energy power purchase agreement and the feed-in tariff system.

The $4 million project is part of a 13-year “build-own-operate-transfer” agreement between Camco and the mill owner, which will take effect upon the plant’s completion. Under the terms of agreement, the mill owner will provide adequate palm oil mill effluent feedstock for free for the entire duration of the contract.

Camco said the project is an “important milestone” for the company as the first biogas project of its kind in Southeast Asia.

According to Scott McGregor, Camco chief executive, strategically, the biogas industry in Southeast Asia is a key sector across the region. – EcoSeed Staff

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