Bukit Semuja rep sees potential for Sarawak in renewable energy generation from palm oil mill waste

John delivering his debate at the DUN sitting today (Nov 24, 2022). Screenshot taken from a Sarawak Public Communications Unit (Ukas) Facebook Live video.

By Ashley Sim

KUCHING, Nov 24: Bukit Semuja assemblyman John Ilus emphasised the potential for the palm oil mill industry to engage in renewable energy generation.

John stated this today during his debate on the Supply (2023) Bill, 2022, which was tabled by Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg on Monday (Nov 21) at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting here.

“In line with the aspiration ‘To achieve sustainable growth and prosperity for Sarawak by 2030 as Southeast Asia’s powerhouse through affordable, reliable, and renewable energy’, I wish to highlight to this august House the potential of generating renewable energy from the palm oil mill industry,” he said.

He pointed out that a wide variety of solid and liquid wastes is produced during the milling process.

“The solid wastes are empty fruit bunches (EFB), palm kernel shell (PKS), decanter cake, and mesocarp fibre.

“The liquid waste, or known as palm oil mill effluent (POME) are produced as a result of condensation, clarification, and mill washing process,” he added.

John also highlighted that solid wastes are commonly used to generate energy for palm oil mill operations.

“The energy is usually produced by burning mesocarp fibre and PKS in biomass boilers to generate steam to power steam turbines,” he said.

John disclosed that the Malaysia Palm Oil Board (MPOB) has enforced a mandatory requirement for all mills to install methane trapping or methane avoidance facilities by the end of 2023.

“This is to avoid the release of methane gas, a powerful greenhouse gas (GHG) into the environment.

“The methane captured from the anaerobic digestion of POME is one of the high potential renewable energy sources for Sarawak,” he added.

Moreover, he remarked that using POME to produce biogas is an alternative and sustainable way to control POME GHG emissions while providing economic benefits to palm oil mills in Peninsular Malaysia.

“Therefore, the State has the potential to harness the renewable energy from methane produced by the palm oil mills given the right regulatory support,” he stated. — DayakDaily