Malasia to Build New Biomass Refinery
Malaysia has announced plans to build the world’s second refinery capable of converting biomass waste into usable products. The announcement came on November 4th, 2013 at the High Level Forum on Biodiversity and Development Post-2014 in Kuala Lumpur. The announcement furthers Malaysia’s attempts to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals and the forthcoming Sustainable Development Goals.
The plant represents an effort on the part of the Malaysian government to address poverty within the paradigm of the Green Economy by sustainably developing renewable resources within Malaysia. The plant will focus on refinement of palm biomass into sugars and isobutanol, a second generation biofuel that substitutes for ethanol. Isobutanol, while not a carbon-neutral energy source, represents an improvement over ethanol based biofuels because its production does not trade off with food production.
“We have about 80 million [tonnes] of biomass, but we are only targeting 20% of the total biomass available,” said the president of the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT) R. Puvaneswari. “We are hoping to start operations by end-2016… This is a huge investment which is why we need the participation of government-linked companies (GLCs).”
The worlds only existing biomass refinery is located in Brindisi, Italy. Construction on the new Malaysian plant will begin in 2014 in Johor. For more news on the High Level Forum on Biodiversity and Development for Post 2015, check the website of the Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.