MALAYSIA – Sime Darby Plantation Sdn Bhd is collaborating with Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. of Japan (MES) to build and operate a bioethanol demonstration plant, which will convert oil palm empty fruit bunches (EFB) into bioethanol.
This bioethanol demonstration plant will use EFB as the primary feedstock.
EFB, in general, is regarded as an excellent feedstock for the production of biofuels due to its abundant supply and year-round availability.
The collaboration is being undertaken by Sime Darby Research Sdn Bhd (SDR), the research and development arm of Sime Darby Plantation.
The joint-venture plant will be built next to Sime Darby Plantation’s Tennamaram palm oil mill at Bestari Jaya (formerly Batang Berjuntai), Selangor.
This is to take advantage of the supply of EFBs from the estate, and the availability of other utilities.
It will have a processing capacity of 1.25 metric tonnes EFB per day, using the hydrothermal pre-treatment and enzymatic hydrolysis technology.
The plant will be utilized to collect operational data and confirm technical feasibility of commercial-scale production of bioethanol from EFB.
Mr Franki Anthony Dass, the Executive VP of Sime Darby Plantation, said the plant showcases Sime Darby Plantation’s commitment to sustainability.
“We continue to research various ways to add value to all the by-products of the humble palm tree.
“The EFB can now move further up the value chain as a source of biofuel. Successful commercialization will also help in managing solid waste produced in oil palm estates,” said Mr Anthony.
Production of biofuel from non-food feedstock such as EFB and other oil palm biomass will help to partially meet the global fuel demand without jeopardising food supply.
In addition, environmentally friendly biofuels from renewable sources will reduce the effects of global warming arising from use of fossil fuels.
This project is yet another sustainable initiative undertaken by Sime Darby in line with its tagline of “Developing Sustainable Futures”.