U.S. clean energy developer Arensis and Indonesian palm oil producer PT Mitech have announced a new joint venture for clean energy production. The collaboration will see biomass power plants from German energy system manufacturer ENTRADE installed as a replacement for the diesel fuel currently used on remote plantations.
Each ENTRADE E5 power plant will produce both clean electricity (50 kW) and heat (120 kW) to power the energy-intensive production of palm oil. A complex control system allows each E5 power plant to function as its own micro-grid, which can integrate other renewable technologies, such as photovoltaics. The E5 power plants also produce high-quality biochar as a by-product, which stores carbon when used as a soil enhancement.
The pilot plants will run on empty fruit bunches (EFBs) as well as palm kernel shells (PKS). This will be a world-first operation and will reduce the wastage in the production process considerably. Currently less than a fourth of palm oil fruit is used and the residues are often left to decompose, generating methane emissions that are 25 times more potent than CO2.
Moritz Hussmann, a researcher for ENTRADE in Austria explained:
"During the past few months we have developed a process and submitted the patent application that enables us to employ empty fruit bunches to create clean energy with our power plants."
"In this process, residual materials from the production of palm oil are washed with seawater and other harmless additives to form fuel for the power systems. Thanks to the outstanding results from our laboratory tests we are now ready to take these tests to industrial scales."
ENTRADE's biomass power plants will begin operating at the PT Mitech Site in Batam, Indonesia in the coming weeks. The second phase will see a local assembly created to serve the growing South East Asian market in the business-friendly Batam Free Trade Zone.
Commenting on the new collaboration, Wilfredo Reyes at arensis said:
"This is a very exciting project for us and a major development for the proliferation of clean energy in the region and especially in Indonesia. The potential for clean decentralized energy production is considerable."
Julien Uhlig, CEO of ENTRADE Group said:
"ENTRADE's biomass power plants are a perfect technological fit for this environment and we are very proud that our research division was able to turn bio-waste into clean energy with such impressive results."
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