Green Technology and the Malaysian Palm Oil Industry

Green Technology and the Malaysian Palm Oil Industry

The recently concluded International Greentech & Eco Products Exhibition & Conference Malaysia (IGEM 2010) is further evidence that Malaysia is ready to ride on the wave of green technology. Officially opened on 13 October 2010 by Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Haji Abdul Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia, this is proof of the Malaysian Government’s endorsement and support of efforts to green Malaysia. Touted as the largest event of its kind in the region, more than 500 exhibition booths showcased both local and international technology and services. On day 3 of the event, 38,616 visitors from 55 countries were recorded visiting the exhibition.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the International Green Technology & Purchasing Conference 2010 was organized from 15-16 October 2010. Officiated by Dato’ Sri Peter Chin Fah Kui, Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water Malaysia, the event saw interesting presentations on the need for Green Purchasing, the ‘Factor of Five’ concept (technological programme of increasing energy and resource productivity by fivefold) and green financing and business opportunities. There was also a climate change simulation video featuring the ‘Earth Simulator’ (climate model and global warming calculations into 2100).

What are then the potential for the Malaysian palm oil industry in green technology?

There is plenty to choose from, judging by the presentations and technologies displayed on biomass utilization, CDM opportunities and renewable energy. Cutting-edge technologies such as thermo catalytic splitting of methane to produce hydrogen were amongst some of the examples of how technological advancements have made green technology to be viable for development in the palm oil sector.

We anticipate that the Malaysian Renewable Energy Act, due to be tabled at the end of 2010 would provide the momentum for additional incentives for the palm oil industry. These are some of the key drivers for the industry from the proposed Act:

i.                Biofuels – the Government under Budget 2011 has announced the Programme of Blending of Biofuels with petroleum diesel (B5) to be implemented by June 2011

ii.               Use of biomass: not necessarily for fuel but for other purposes. New industries may emerge to capitalize on the “Green Technology” funds that will be available for new technology adoptions.

iii.              Feed in Tariff (FiT) mechanism – which allows electricity generated from renewable energy by independent providers to be sold to utility companies. It is also expected to further increase the tariff rate from the current 21 cent per kilowatt hour. Biogas from palm oil mill effluent and biomass would then have a more attractive value, making it a more attractive option to millers.

iv.             Formation of a Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA) to oversee the implementation of renewable energy.

Through the incentives to encourage the Malaysian palm oil industry venture into methane capture and biomass utilization for energy generation, it is hoped that the Renewable Energy Act would be just the right tonic to get things going. Palm oil can then truly claim to be sustainable from the start till the end of its production chain.

Notes:

1.     IGEM 2010 was organized by the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water Malaysia (KeTTHA) and the Green Purchasing Network Malaysian (GPNM). MPOC’s involvement in the exhibition is in the business matching session, coordinated by the Malaysian-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry(MGCCI)

2.     Link to IGEM 2010: www.igem.com.my

 

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