Palm oil biomass opportunities in Sabah attracting investors

State-owned POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd is determined to make a success of the “waste to wealth” philosophy with the mass utilisation of its oil palm biomass.

The company, which is responsible for the development of the Lahad Datu palm oil industrial cluster (POIC Lahad Datu), today signed a memorandum of understanding on the Joint Development of EFB (Empty Fruit Bunch) Treatment in the state of Sabah with Kuala Lumpur-based Golden Green Synergy Sdn Bhd (GGS) to boost the up-take of value-adding industries using oil palm biomass.

GGS is in the forefront of biomass utilisation in Malaysia. It has been exporting fibres from empty oil palm fruit bunches and is involved with Malaysia Palm Oil Board in a pilot project in Perak to produce pellets from palm fibres and palm kernel shells. It has also invested in producing renewable energy from palm oil mill effluent.

According to a statement issued by POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd, here, today the collaboration with GGS is POIC Sabah’s continuing efforts to realise the billion-ringgit economic potential in oil palm biomass. The company had earlier this year initiated a scheme to procure 300,000 tons of biomass per year to ensure supply security for investors.

The signing in Kuala Lumpur today (Aug 25) bound both parties to jointly develop a feasible process and mechanism for the pre-treatment of empty fruit bunches in Sabah, promote and develop the pelletizing technology to enhance the
operations of palm oil mills in Sabah and to stimulate biomass investment opportunities in Sabah.

Chief executive officer of POIC Sabah and Director of POIC Trading Sdn Bhd, Dr Pang Teck Wai said the market for renewable feedstock such as fuel for power generation or fibre for household beddings and furniture can clearly be seen in the millions of tons ordered by Europe and Japan.

He sees the biomass sector growing to take centre-stage along with palm oil as the world’s hunger for resources intensifies.

He likened it to soya beans which were originally cultivated as a raw material for animal feed. Soybean oil which was then considered a by-product is today a strategic commodity and one of the most important vegetable oils in the world.

“The potential economic benefits which can be derived from oil palm biomass are just waiting to be maximised,” Pang added.

– Bernama