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EnviTec Biogas signs cooperation agreement for biogas plant in Indonesia

EnviTec Biogas AG has announced that its has signed a cooperation agreement with PT Herfinta Farm and Plantation (Indonesia) and Calfield SDN BHD (Malaysia) for the construction of a 4 MWe biogas plant in North Sumatra, Indonesia.

Germany-headed biogas technology developer and supplier EnviTec Biogas AG has announced the signing of a cooperation agreement with PT Herfinta Farm & Plantation (Indonesia) and Calfield SDN BHD (Malaysia) for the construction of a biogas plant in North Sumatra, Indonesia. The plant will contribute a total of 4 MWe to the green energy transition in Indonesia.

The contract signing ceremony, which took place in Berlin, Germany, was attended by His Excellency Dr.-Ing. Fauzi Bowo, Ambassador of Indonesia and His Excellency YBhg Dato’ Zulkifli bin Adnan, Ambassador of Malaysia.

– For us, this is a key milestone on the path towards gaining a foothold in the promising Indonesian market, said Jörg Fischer, CFO of EnviTec Biogas in a statement.

Palm oil industry residues

The joint venture set up by the contractual parties will trade under the name PT Power Energi Nusantara Indonesia, and construction will start as soon as it has been approved by local utilities and construction authorities.

– Thanks to the sustainable use of waste materials, the local palm oil industry will no longer be a mere consumer but also a producer of renewable energy that avoids significant emissions of greenhouse gases, said Marcello Barbato, EnviTec Sales Manager South East Asia.

Technical planning of the joint venture is the result of several years of development work by EnviTec Biogas AG and is also innovative since the project will also utilise empty fruit bunches (EFB) as feedstock. To date, the palm oil industry has used at most wastewater in biogas plants.

Digestion of EFB’s is a more complex task and so these were left unused or incinerated for energy recovery. Unlike incineration, digestion in a biogas plant has the advantage of producing digestate that can significantly reduce the volume of artificial fertiliser used in the plantations.

Renewable power expansion

With this innovative strategy and the exclusive sourcing of input material from palm oil production waste, the company is making the most of this opportunity to establish a long-term position in the Indonesian palm oil industry. With over 600 oil mills, Indonesia is one of the world’s leading producers of palm oil.

Until now, palm oil mill effluent (POME), wastewater and waste products from palm oil production have not been consistently used for energy recovery – even though the government recently introduced a subsidy structure to support the generation of renewable energy.

Apart from Indonesia, Malaysia is also pursuing an increased use of renewable energy. According to the Renewable Energy export initiative from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, electricity demand will require an enormous medium-term capacity expansion, to around 6 GW by 2020. Alongside conventional energy sources, renewable energy is playing an increasingly important role for Malaysia’s energy mix.

– Taking all of these factors into account, we have been setting up feed-in legislation based partially on the German model since 2011, commented Ambassador Zulkifli Bin Adnan during the signing ceremony.

In general, the government has set itself the goal of meeting at least 11 percent of electricity demand from renewable energy sources by 2020.

– Therefore this is an exciting project for both of our countries, and one model for the successful transfer of technology from Germany to the ASEAN region, said Ambassador Fauzi Bowo.

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