A shift towards green futures promotes new economic opportunity and sustainability by ensuring industrial efficiency, sustainable consumption and production as well as emphasis on zero pollution.
An economic and social approach of green futures will revolutionize the sourcing and usage of new technology in energy, water, herbal pharmaceuticals, buildings and the transportation sector.
One of the main aspects of a green future is the use of renewable materials. The bio-renewable industry itself addresses a USD8.3 trillion global market.
Malaysia’s existing strength in the palm oil industry creates opportunity for immediate technological and economic gain, given our abundant output of palm oil biomass.
Biomass is organic matter that can be processed into energy for heat, liquid fuels or power generation.
Sources of biomass include wood, plants, agricultural residues, animal waste, and the organic components of municipal and industrial wastes.
Biomass can be combusted directly to produce steam for electricity or it can be converted into a gas to power a turbine. It can also be converted into a fuel oil substitute called bio-oil.
Biomass power can be generated at stand-alone power plants, cogeneration power plants or in micro generation applications.
A biomass power or cogeneration system typically consists of a combustor or a gasifier and a prime mover that uses steam from a boiler or combustible gas from a gasifier to produce heat and/or power. Installations range in size from less than .75 MW electric capacities to over 50 MW.
Biomass can be converted into ethanol or biodiesel and used as a transportation fuel. Ethanol is made by fermenting a biomass source high in carbohydrates and is mostly used as a fuel additive to reduce emissions.
The primary feedstock for ethanol is corn (starch-based), but research is focusing on converting cellulosic materials (wood, paper, and crop residues) to ethanol.
Malaysia must identify and invest in its specific role and leadership position in sustainable oil palm production to utilise the commodity through innovation and generate new wealth for the economy.
In the process, the country would clearly be meeting its global responsibility and drive towards a green economy as with Malaysia leadership position in sustainable oil palm, Malaysia would have an excellent starting position for further innovation.
With the launch of The 1Malaysia Biomass Alternative Strategy (1MBAS) Initiative on 22nd March 2012, by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, it will strengthen execution of the National Biomass Strategy and expand the strategy to other sources of the Malaysian biomass.
The initiative aims to encourage more local and foreign companies to invest and establish partnerships in the biomass industry and accelerate the industry’s growth.
1MBAS would focus on driving new sources of income generation, driving inclusiveness through job creation at all levels and enhance development of new industries through utilisation of biomass.
This will establish a new source of cutting edge, high-value industries and more skilled jobs for Malaysians.
Malaysia currently generates about 11 percent of GNI from the agriculture sector. In the process of creating this value, a significant amount of biomass is generated every year across a variety of crops, including but not limited to palm oil, rubber and rice.
Within agriculture, by far the largest contributor to GNI is the palm oil sector, contributing about 8 percent or almost RM 50 billion.
The palm oil sector correspondingly generates the largest amount of biomass, estimated at 80 million dry tonnes in 2010. This is expected to increase to about 100 million dry tonnes by 2020, primarily driven by increases in yield.
The vast majority of the oil palm biomass being generated today is returned to the field to release its nutrients and replenish the soil.
As the world’s second largest producer and largest exporter of palm oil, this is a natural opportunity for Malaysia to capture, with a significant prize.
However achieving full potential will require significant coordination and cooperation among multiple stakeholders.
The development of partnerships and cooperative structures among plantation owners is critical to mobilise the biomass, and Entry Point Projects (EPP) are being used to accelerate this opportunity.
Source: National Biomass Strategy 2020, Malaysian Biomass Initiatives, mybiomass.com.my, biomass-sp.net and greenworldinvestor.com
(this article written for 1BINA.my)