Saturday November 3, 2012
Sarawak’s BBC Holdings to build RM13mil biogas plant
By Jack Wong
KUCHING: Bintulu-based BBC Holdings Sdn Bhd is constructing a RM13mil biogas plant within its palm oil mill, using a new Japanese technology.
The technology from Kubota Corporation is reportedly capable of producing much more biogas from empty fruit bunches for use as renewable energy and is more efficient in the treatment of palm oil mill effluent (POME).
BBC Biogas Plant Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of BBC group, which is involved in oil palm plantation and palm oil milling, and Kubota signed the contract for the biogas plant project here yesterday.
The signatories were BBC group executive chairman Barry Yek and Kubota director Toshihiko Kurosawa San. Sarawak Industrial Development Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan witnessed the event.
The plant is expected to be ready by June next year.
BBC Biogas managing director Christopher Yek Nae Tsuey said his company was the first in the world to adopt Kubota's state-of-the-art technology in palm oil milling industry.
He said the technology - anaerobic and aerobic membrane bioreactor system - was the integration of two processes that extract biogas from POME and treat waste water to comply with the stringent requirements of Department of Environment (DOE) and Sarawak Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB).
The biogas plant has a capacity of 936 tonnes/day based on the mill effluent capacity.
Kubota has guaranteed the final effluent from the plant would be discharged with a biological oxygen demand (BOD) of below 20ppm consistently.
The biogas produced would be used to operate a brick factory to be built by BBC next to the plant.
Later in a video presentation, Kubota senior executive Masashi Moro said the company's anaerobic membrane bioreactor system produced much more biogas and high quality effluent compared with other technologies.
Kubota has vast experience in treating high strength organic waste water in Japan and the US with very similar characteristics as POME.
The company has conducted various pilot plant studies, including building a big demonstration plant in a palm oil mill in Selangor more than two years ago.
Based on the demonstration plant, Kubota said it had the experience and know-how to provide the innovative solution for the palm oil industry.
The Kubota system's another advantage is small foot print, which is less than 30% of the conventional open pond system used to treat POME.
Moro said Kubota had some 3,800 installations of the membrane bioreactor system in the world.
Awang Tengah said the Sarawak government had received applications from 11 oil palm mills and 11 wood processing mills for biomass generating licences with combined capacity of 110MW.