The demand for certified carbon emissions (CER) or carbon credits will continue to increase among developed nations despite the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) agreement expiring by 2012.
CDM consultancy firm Perenia Carbon Malaysia Sdn Bhd senior associate Bhavna Khandar said countries like Japan, Australia, the United States and the European Union (UE) were showing increasing interests to buy carbon credits from developing countries.
In Malaysia, over 80% of its CDM projects were from the oil palm industry. They include renewable energy-related projects like biomass from palm empty fruit bunches (EFB) and generating biogas via capturing methane gas from the palm oil mill effluent (POME) ponds.
“Post-Kyoto Protocol, increasing demand for carbon credits will help to push the price of CER higher given the fact that demand is already higher than supply right now,” Bhavna told a panel discussion on Green Renewable Energy at the final day of the Oils and Fats International Congress 2010 yesterday.
CER, which is currently being sold at about seven to eight euros per tonne, can be a good side income for oil palm plantation and palm oil millers in Malaysia even though the revenue will not be as good as selling CPO itself.
For Malaysia, one of the world’s largest producers of palm oil, it is actually easier for its oil palm plantation companies and millers to get actively involved in CDM projects i.e. biogas and biomass plants, given the whole year round availability of POME and EFB.
Bhavna also said it was timely for more oil palm players to venture into CDM projects.
However, of the 83 registered CDM projects in Malaysia, only five have managed to obtain the CER sale issuance.
“Although there were plenty of good renewable energy to be CER issued, however, many companies failed to be certified given improper planning and incomplete data in their submissions resulting delays in project commissioning,” she added.
Malaysian Palm Oil Board deputy director-general (R&D) Datuk Dr Choo Yuen May said the Government was targeting the over 400 palm oil mills in the country to implement the methane gas-capturing facility by 2020 thus reducing the carbon emissions impact on the environment.
Currently, there are 24 local companies involved in biogas projects in Malaysia.
Choo pointed out that Malaysia was adopting the zero waste and zero emission policy for its oil palm industry.
She said MPOB as the custodian of the oil palm sector would be looking at the production of new products such as bioethanol and bio oils from palm empty fruit bunches, trunk, shell and fronds, solid fuels from palm biomass and synthetic diesel.
In addition, MPOB has identified jatropha and algae as new crops feedstock for biodiesel production.
On the country’s biodiesel progress, Choo said the Government would implement the mandatory B5 biodiesel programme nationwide by June next year.
On the lack of incentive for local biodiesel players to operate given the current high CPO price at RM3,000 per tonne, she said MPOB would put up a roadshow for biodiesel producers to possibly consider venturing into other lucrative products like pytho nutrients.
Palm methyl ester or biodiesel could be be used as feed stock in oleochemicals and green solvents, she added.
Meanwhile, International Medical University, Biomedical Technology Professor Dr Chu Wan Loy said algae, which was creating rage overseas for the production of healthcare products like spirulina and chorella, had potential to be cultivated in the palm oil mills effluent ponds nationwide.
“However, we need to harness the proper technology to ensure algae cultivation succeed in Malaysia,” he said.
Furthermore, algae is a non-food crop, thus making it an ideal feedstock for biodiesel, biogas and bioethanol production.
On the issue of the EU Renewable Energy Directive being considered as a discriminatory trade policy by many developing nations and also several NGOs, ambassador and head of the EU delegation to Malaysia Vincent Piket said: “We are only discriminatory to those non-sustainable biofuels imported into the EU.”
Source: The Star by Hanim Adnan