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 Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani
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 Abundant Raw Materials Slows Down Palm Biomass Ind

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 16 (Bernama) -- Palm oil biomass projects are not in thefast track as industry players tend to be complacent due to the presenceof other abundant raw materials, said Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB)director-general Datuk Dr Yusof Basiron.

He said that Malaysia is blessed with a lot of raw materials and energysources such as petroluem, gas, timber and rubber wood, and as suchplayers have a choice of relying on these raw materials other than palmoil biomass.

They are still comfortable with the current availaibility of raw materialswhich come from other sources, he told Bernama in an interview at aseminar on Palm Biomass: Opportunities For Commercialisation, here today.

Yusof said that this is the kind of damper that would not allow the palmoil raw material to be explored commercially so fast.

Oil palm biomass comes from empty fruit bunches, trunks and fronds.

The two-day seminar which began yesterday is jointly organised by the MPOBand two German companies, the Frauhofer liaison office in Malaysia and theHannover-Hildesheim Chamber of Commerce of the State of Lower Saxonia.

However, Yusof said that the scenario is different in Germany, where thecountry took only five years to develop its biomass industry.

He said that Germany is a nation which has low source of raw materials andas such it has no choice but to explore their resources very quickly andefficently in order to maximise the availbility of such raw materials.

Hence, it is a big challenge to Malaysia to introduce certain preservationconcept, like not using too much of fossil fuels, Yusof said.

"That is why the government came up with the five percent target (In 2005five percent of the energy would be from biomass). So that we can start touse the available raw materials to produce energy," he said.

Yusof said such policies would help the industry to speed up the adaptionof using palm oil biomass for energy generation and supplying electricity.

"We anticipate that within this year or next year, a few more companieswill come to supply electricity using palm oil biomass and build mediumdensity fiberboard (MDF)," he added.

He said that this will start the ball rolling and gain more momentum inthe up-coming years.

"Once the people are driven by necessity then they will start responding,"he added.

He said that economic pressure such as low palm oil price, lack of incomeand government policy (regulation), would be the main factors to encouragethe people to enter the industry and see the usage of biomass beingexploited.

Besides that, rebate, tax exemption and public requirements forenvironmently friendly energy would also induce industry players,especially the big ones, to undertake palm oil biomass projects.

Currently, he said some palm oil mills are already using biomass toproduce eight percent of the energy required by them.

As for other biomass sources that Malaysia could look into, he said: "theoil palm sector is the main source of biomass energy in excess amount thatshould be exploited ringht now."

A total of 35 million tonnes of oil palm biomass are produced in Malaysiaas a result of extracting 10 million tonnes of crude palm oil annually.

MPOB had said recently that advances in technology had enabled the biomassto be used for making a wide range of products like pulp and paper,panels, furniture and even car components and a medium for planting. --BERNAMA

Malaysian Palm Oil Board ( MPOB ) Lot 6, SS6, Jalan Perbandaran, 47301 Kelana Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, MALAYSIA.
Tel : 603 - 7802 2800 || Fax : 603 - 7803 3533