Power From Palm Oil Waste

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is set to exploit toil palm waste from the

state’s 1.4mil ha of plantations with the setting up of a biomass

collection operation.

Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman said that

instead of becoming an environmental hazard, oil palm waste such as

fronds, harvested fruit bunches and trunks could be collected to

generate electricity, make plastic composites and fertilisers.

In

this regard, he said the state government was considering financing the

setting up of a biomass collection operation through its wholly owned

POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd.

“This will give investors an assurance of the

availability of raw materials, and at prices commercially viable for

the biomass industry to take off.

“The collection operation is

expected to alleviate problems of oil palm mill waste disposal,

especially for harvested fruit bunches that emit methane, a greenhouse

gas.

Official launching:

Musa watering a tree he planted at the ground-breaking ceremony in

Lahad Datu Thursday.

“It is also in line with the oil

palm industry’s move towards earning the sustainability label,” he said

at the joint ground-breaking ceremony of eight companies setting up

operations at the Palm Oil Industrial Cluster (POIC) in the east coast

Lahad Datu district yesterday.

Musa noted that currently, the

development of downstream biomass industries was hampered by the absence

of a supply and pricing mechanism.

“Investors are in a dilemma

because there is a lot of biomass, but they cannot access the biomass to

turn into high-value products,” he said, adding that details of the

proposed biomass collection centre was still being worked out.

He

said they wanted to boost development in the eastern part of Sabah to

narrow the regional development imbalance, and to make it a player in

the BIMP-EAGA region.

“In extraordinary times, we need to adopt

measures that put us a step ahead of others and POIC Lahad Datu is a

step in the right direction,” Musa said.

He also said that POIC

Sabah was devising a plan to encourage handicraft and souvenir-making

using oil palm waste materials such as shells to support the state’s

growing tourism industry.

Musa said that initiatives under the

New Economic Model, the Sabah Development Corridor Blueprint, the POIC

and the Kota Kina-balu Industrial Park would help lead Sabah to an

unprecedented economic transformation.

He said the Lahad Datu

POIC had so far attracted 25 investors with some RM1.8bil worth of

investments.

He said another potentially revolutionary approach

was the introduction of narrow-gauge railways linking plantations to

collection centres.

“It may be a way out of the perennial

complaint about poor road conditions and linkage that lead to high

transportation costs,” said Musa.

The eight companies to set up

operations at the Lahad Datu POIC are Felda Agricultural Services

Sdn Bhd, Taiko Fertilizers Sdn Bhd, Behn Meyer & Co (Malaysia) Sdn

Bhd, Lahad Datu Edible Oils Sdn Bhd, Agri Borneo Fertilizers Sdn Bhd,

Sawit Raya (Oil) Sabah Sdn Bhd, Blossom Bio-Energy Sdn Bhd and Syarikat

Tuah Jaya.

Source : The Star by Ruben Sario

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