BioX environs project for palm oil mills

PLANTATION owners wanting to play a bigger role in preserving the environment can participate in BioX Group Asia's clean development mechanism (CDM) project, which helps contain methane gas released by palm oil mills. 

The project can also generate income, as the methane gas contained by BioX's biogas-to-energy system will be given a certificate called Certified Emission Reductions (CERs). These CERs can be traded via the European Union Trading System. 

A 50-tonnes-per-hour mill can generate more than 30,000 CERs annually, and the market price for each CER is about 26 to 27 euros. 

In May, the Dutch company signed the first pilot project in Malaysia with Tradewinds Plantation Bhd and was expected to secure up to 100 CDM projects in the country in the next two to three years, said BioX Asia director Edgare Kerkwijk. 

The project is on a joint-venture basis, whereby the investment as well as profits will be shared between the local plantation company and BioX. 

Edgare Kerkwijk

“BioX expects a significant demand for CERs, as many industrial countries are falling short of meeting their emission reduction targets,” Kerkwijk told StarBiz in Kuala Lumpur. 

The CDM is recognised by the United Nations under the Kyoto Protocol 2005 as a sustainable development project activity. 

The Kyoto Protocol's member countries, which consist of industrialised nations, have committed to reducing their annual greenhouse gas emissions by 5% between 2008 and 2012. The reduction in gas emissions into the atmosphere is represented by the CERs. 

Besides the environmental and financial benefits of the activity, CDM projects can also help plantation owners reduce costs, as the trapped gas can be burnt to generate electricity. 

Meanwhile, BioX Asia planned to form alliance with a plantation owner in the country or Indonesia for a long-term supply of palm oil, Kerkwijk said.  

The BioX group is Europe’s largest and fastest growing supplier of sustainable biofuels to the energy sector and has offices in the Netherlands, Malaysia, Britain and Singapore. 

“For a 50MW power plant, we need 80,000 tonnes of CPO every year. Our trading business is already getting close to one million tonnes of palm oil,” he said. 

“We expect to trade two million tonnes of CPO by 2010. With prices going up, we need to start investing in a plantation to ensure sustainable supply of palm oil,” he said, adding that the partnership would be on equity basis. 

BioX, which initially planned to set up four 50MW biofuel power plants in Europe, now intends to own 10 of them.  

Kerkwijk said three would be built in the Netherlands while the remaining would be located in Belgium, Britain and Italy. 

“These countries are the most favourable markets for us,” he said, adding that acquisitions could also be an option. 

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