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Jakarta Post

Economy in brief: Palm oil mill effluent used to generate power

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, May 19, 2015   /  08:56 am

The Asian Agri plantation group will soon inaugurate the operations of two power generation plants fired by biogas from palm oil mill effluent (POME) which has mostly been emitted into the atmosphere, thereby contributing to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and global warming.

'€œWe have been building five POME-based biogas power generation stations in North Sumatra, Jambi and Riau, each with an installed capacity of two megawatts, and two of them are scheduled to start up operations later this month or early June,'€ Asian Agri managing director Kelvin Tio told The Jakarta Post.

Tio said green activists had attacked the conversion of land into oil palm estates and POME as among the biggest emitters of GHG.

'€œBut by processing POME into biogas to generate electricity, we cut GHG emissions and at the same time develop a new source of renewable energy which is suitable for rural electrification.'€

Asian Agri, Tio said, conducts GHG calculations for all of its mills and estates annually to enable them to identify crucial areas in their production chain and thereby provide guidance on emission reduction. Auditors verify the GHG calculations for international sustainability and carbon certification (ISCC) and Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certifications.

Assuming households in rural areas each use 900 watts for 24-hour supply, each of the five biogas power plants can meet the electricity needs of 2,000 houses, he added. According to Tio, a palm oil mill with an hourly capacity of 60 tons that requires fresh-fruit bunches from 15,000 hectares of oil palm trees can supply enough biogas to generate two MW of power.

'€œAsian Agri, which manages 160,000 ha of oil palm plantations, of which 60,000 ha are owned by smallholders, plan to build 15 more biogas power stations each with a 2-MW capacity within the next 10 years,'€ Tio added.

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