The palm oil industry is a critical source of energy, both for transportation as well as electricity generation. And it is not simply relying on palm oil to produce energy, but rather, on a number of by-products.
Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME) of which more than 60 million tonnes is produced every year, is both a waste and a significant energy source. Through the implementation by methane capture, whereby POME is retained in enclosed facilities wherein methane emissions from the POME are captured and burned, entire mill operations and neighboring communities can be provided with consistent and reliable energy. And this can be achieved by removing emissions, making the technology carbon-negative. As part of Malaysia’s National Key Economic Areas, 500 methane capture facilities will be constructed before 2020, contributing to the national energy grid as well as providing energy to the processing of palm oil.
And biomass, which has been used for years by palm oil mill operators to fuel their boilers, offer a tremendous opportunity to improving the sustainability of energy generation and reducing emissions through the replacement of coal in power plants. Through pelletization of empty fruit bunches (EFB), palm fronds, palm trunks and saw dust, palm biomass will be able to generate more energy and produce fewer emissions. And with more than 100 million tonnes of biomass expected to be produced by the Malaysian palm oil industry in 2020 alone, harnessing the value of biomass will allow producers and their communities to benefit even more.
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