Making use of waste

ALTERNATIVE energy is all the rage. Governments and companies are looking at ways to reduce the cost of energy while maintaining a cleaner environment.

FatHopes Energy Sdn Bhd managing director Vinesh Sinha believes there needs to be greater focus on converting waste to energy.

In recent years, the company has been looking into other types of waste oil, apart from used cooking oil, which it can use as feedstock for its production of waste-based biodiesel. FatHopes Energy currently collects around 30 different types of waste oil.

“The biggest issue in the industry is getting the feedstock,” he says.

Vinesh is turning his eyes to the regional market now that it has covered most of the local collection points for waste oil. He notes that there is a big supply in these countries as there is currently little effort to up-cycle waste oil for power generation.

However, it is not easy to set up refineries in other countries as it takes up large capitals.

As such, he is looking at making Malaysia a waste oil collection hub by 2020.

“We have good infrastructure, ports and talent who are well-versed in oleochemicals. We want to collect all the waste oil from other countries and have them send them here to be processed.

“We, ourselves, may not have the capacity to convert all that waste oil into biodiesel. But we can run the pre-treatment process that is proprietary to us and supply them as feedstock to other refineries in the country.

“It is too much of a cake to keep to yourself,” he says.

Vinesh notes that there are currently over 50 refineries in the country that are idle as most of them operate on converting virgin feedstock into biodiesel and fluctuating commodity prices have not made it feasible for them to operate.

By centralising supply, he says there will be better potential for waste-based biodiesel to grow. Vinesh says there is a role for the company to become a supply chain coordinator in this sense.

And there is ready demand for waste-based biodiesel, particularly in Europe.

He adds that FatHopes Energy is currently only supplying a fraction of its clients’ biodiesel needs.

Vinesh also notes that FatHopes Energy is looking into other applications for its biodiesel to grow its market base.

“We are moving away from just fuelling vehicles to powering industrial applications and carrying heavy loads. Once these come on stream in a big way, demand for waste-based biodiesel will grow even further,” he says.