Lahad Datu oil palm biomass pact seen to draw 12 to 15 companies

  • Business
  • Saturday, 22 Jun 2013

PETALING JAYA: Agensi Inovasi Malaysia (AIM) is expecting at least 12 to 15 companies to participate in the recently signed oil palm biomass joint-venture (JV) cluster in Lahad Datu, Sabah, by the end of this year.

The signing, a world first, is a major breakthrough in bringing together owners and consumers of oil palm biomass.

AIM chief executive officer Mark Rozario said: “We have engaged more than 30 mills thus far and are seeing more interested parties wanting to jump on the bandwagon.”

At present, five companies have signed the JV cluster – Genting Sdn Bhd, Kelas Wira Sdn Bhd, Bell Corp Sdn Bhd, Teck Guan Industries Sdn Bhd and Golden Elate Sdn Bhd – with more than 12 mills in Lahad Datu.

The biomass JV cluster is a concept spearheaded by AIM to help alleviate market failure between the owners of biomass and downstream users, such as bio-based chemical refineries and pellet plants.

The venture was developed together with Sabah’s Ministry of Industry Development, Palm Oil Industrial Cluster Sabah and AIM in response to the challenge of mobilising biomass effectively.

“This year, we are targeting to aggregate 1.5 million tonnes of biomass in the area of Lahad Datu,” he said at a media briefing on the National Biomass Strategy (NBS) 2020 Version 2.0.

AIM executive vice-president for strategic innovation Bas Melssen, meanwhile, said companies from Japan, South Korea, Europe and the United States had shown interest in the JV cluster.

The NBS 2.0, launched last week in Tawau, is an updated version of the initial NBS that was launched in November last year. Developed by AIM, the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry and other stakeholders, it is widely regarded as the nation’s guide on what opportunities are in store for biomass and how it can create wealth for the nation.

NBS 2.0 is targeting some 20 million tonnes of biomass to be utilised for higher-value use by 2020.

Malaysia’s oil palm industry produces over 83 million dry tonnes of solid biomass per year, with the volume expected to increase to between 85 and 110 million dry tonnes by 2020.

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