Sabah soon to have world’s first palm oil based biorefinery complex

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  • Wednesday, 22 Apr 2015

Launched: Yahya (centre) accompanied by Ewon (second left) and delegates touching the crystal ball to mark the launching of the BioBorneo 2015.

KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia is set to become a key producer of sustainably produced raw materials for the manufacture of detergents, lubricants and plastics once the world’s first palm oil based bio refinery complex is operational in the east coast of Lahad Datu district.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Ewon Ebin said the bio refinery complex would be producing speciality chemicals such as olefins, saturated methyl ester and methyl ester sulphonate.

He said the RM2bil metathesis biorefinery plant at the Palm Oil Industrial Cluster in Lahad Datu was a joint venture between US-based Elevance Renewable Sciences Inc and Genting Plantations Bhd.

“The plant is expected to be operational in about two years and will propel Malaysia as a key producer of sustainably produced specialty chemicals,” Ewon said after the launching of the BioBorneo conference and exhibition here on Monday.

The two-day event was launched by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Yahya Hussin.

Ewon said bio-refinery complex was one of the 13 key projects nationwide under the bio-economy transformation programme, of which three were located in Sabah.

He said the other two projects in the state utilised oil palm waste for the manufacture of compressed natural gas and organic fertiliser.

Ewon said the Felda Palm Industries would be equipping its Hamparan Badai, Kembara Sakti and Nilam Permata palm oil mills to convert raw biogas from the effluent into compressed industrial grade natural gas.

“Each of these facilities would have the capacity to produce 900 cubic metres per hour of this compressed natural gas,” he added.

Ewon said the palm oil waste was also be used to produce organic fertiliser with local firm Green Plant Organic Fertilizer Sdn Bhd constructing plant on a build-operate-transfer basis for Sawit Kinabalu in Sabah.

Earlier, Yahya said Sabah offered tremendous potential due to the state wealth of biodiversity and natural resources.

He noted that Borneo alone boasted 15,000 species of flowering plants and 3,000 tree species apart from hundreds of mammals, birds and freshwater fish species.

“With the right application of bio technological tools for conservation and use, our biodiversity can serve as a source of wealth creation,” Yahya added.

He said various state agencies government linked companies had embarked on various bioeconomic endeavors in agricultural, biomedical and bio-industrial sectors.

The Sabah Development Corporation (SDC) has taken into account and have listed strategies for the action plans on Sabah Biotechnology.

The main initiatives under SDC include Sabah Agro-Industrial Precinct (SAIP), Palm Oil Industrial Cluster (POIC), Keningau Integrated Lifestock Centre (KILC) and Marine Integrated Cluster, Yahya said.

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