First Sabah bio-oil plant in pipeline

Daily Express, Sabah
Company Focus

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced recently that nine agreements worth some RM30 billion have been inked between the Government and the private sector, boosting the RM1.3 trillion Economic Transformation Programme to transform Malaysia into a high-income nation by 2020.

There is only one company to be involved in Sabah by setting up a bio-oil plant, dubbed the first of its kind in Malaysia, which will use oil palm biomass as feedstock Selangor based Premium Renewable Energy (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd.

It was reported at the Economic Transformation Programme: A Roadmap for Malaysia book launch at the Putra World Trade Centre recently that PRE will set up a RM124m bio-oil plant in Lahad Datu, besides investing in 29 bio-oil plants by 2020 as part of the Palm Oil NKEA to commercialise second-generation bio-fuel using oil palm biomass.

The Palm Oil, NKEA has an indicative Key Performance Indicator of nine bio-oil plants to be developed by 2015 and 29 bio-oil plants by 2020 throughout Malaysia with an annual production of 1.1 million tonnes and 3.8 million tonnes of bio-oil, respectively.

With the recent unveiling of the 10th Malaysia Plan by the Government, a new renewable energy target for power of 985 MW or 5.5 per cent of electricity generated by 2015 was set. The bulk of the target or 330MW comes from biomass.

PRE would work with the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) and other oil palm players to spearhead production of bio-oil from oil palm biomass and other biomass available regionally via pyrolysis technology, as the local partner of technology giants Ensyn and UOP-Honeywell.

Its Chairman, Datuk Razman Hashim, said Malaysia’s energy sector is in transition based on the realisation that Malaysia’s petroleum resources having been developed since the 1970s, are finite and non-replaceable.

"The days of cheap and plentiful oil and gas some say are over, and Malaysia cannot remain in denial. Now seems the right time for Malaysia to really make headway in developing renewable energy resources and portfolio much like it did in the 1970s for its fossil fuel resources.”

"Malaysia must now look at delivering green renewable sources of energy for both its power and transportation needs," he said.

PRE and its partners UOP Honeywell and Honeywell International are working towards this in bio-oil and Rapid Thermal Process technology for power and heat applications.

The result is upgrading bio-oil into "drop-in" green renewable transportation fuels such as green diesel, gasoline and jet fuel ready for use in conventional engines.”

"RTP is a proven technology with seven commercial plants running in North America. It was developed over 20 years of R&D.”

"Bio-oil from oil palm biomass is renewable, biodegradable and does not contribute to a net rise in carbon dioxide and consequently to the greenhouse effect. It can be stored and transported just like crude oil with a multitude of energy use options.”

"For Malaysia, we have determined that oil palm biomass is the most abundant and suitable for bio-oil production...and among the answers to Malaysia’s future energy requirements, contributing positively to energy security and help achieve the up to 40 per cent targeted GDP carbon emission intensity by 2020 compared with 2005 levels our Prime Minister had committed to in Copenhagen."

This PRE company was set up in 2007 and formed a partnership with Ensyn Technologies of Canada in 2008 which provides it exclusive rights to commercialise Ensyn’s proven RTP technology in Malaysia and other parts of the region for the production of bio-oil for power and transportation fuels.

Ensyn is a world leader in production of bio-oil from biomass and has more than 20 years of commercial experience with its RTP technology at its seven commercial biomass plants in the US and Canada.

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