Malaysia has a plan to turn waste from its palm oil production into energy. A new joint venture, FTJ Bio Power Sdn Bhd, announced plans for a plant that could generate 12.5 million watts of electricity from waste palm branches, also known as empty fruit branches or EFB.
It’s the latest bright spot in Asia’s strengthening green movement, coming amid news of Malaysia’s first solar power plant, which is scheduled to begin construction soon–plus news of the cancellation of a planned coal-fired power plant (and its presumed pollutants) located near Borneo’s Tabin Wildlife Reserve, which houses the endangered Sumatran Rhino of Borneo.
The Malaysian EFB plant will capitalize on the 20 million tons of biomass waste excreted annually from Malaysia’s palm oil production industry.
“The Felda Global Group is pursuing several projects to fully utilise EFB produced by its mills. Some 70 other projects are in progress and in the pipeline, including composting, pellet production and combined heat and power projects,” said the Felda Global Group’s president, Datuk Sabri Ahmad, a partner in the FTJ joint venture, indicating that biomass is just one of a host of alternative energy sources the country is looking into.
And of the country’s decision to scrap plans for the coal plant in Borneo, local activist Cynthia Ong said, “For us, this certainly marks a sea change. It’s the first step in doing things in a different way. This is the best news for the planet.”