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Palm oil-based biojet fuels boost export revenue- expert

By Bernama - November 26, 2023 @ 11:46am

KUALA LUMPUR: The production of biojet fuels from empty fruit bunches (EFB) biomass is seen as one of the most important solutions for palm oil producing countries like Malaysia to unlock the biomass potential and at the same time increasing its revenue from exporting more high added-value products, said an expert.

Dr Zhao Xuebing from Tsinghua University, China, said there are different ways to develop biojet fuels, for instance via the production of palm oil-based and palm by-product biomass, which has the lowest cost.

"In Malaysia, you can use palm oil but maybe in other countries, especially in China, we cannot use vegetable oil to produce biojet in large scale because we don't even have enough vegetable oil for consumption," he told Bernama in an interview at the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) International Palm Oil Congress and Exhibition 2023 (PIPOC 2023) recently.

He said Malaysia is ready for biojet fuel as the country has a lot of palm oil and is the second largest producer globally — it can be produced using the hydrotreated esters and fatty acids (HEFA) technology.

Malaysia is the world's second-largest exporter of palm oil with domestic consumption utilising only a fraction of its total palm oil output while it exports most of the palm oil it produces.

In 2022, India was Malaysia's most valuable export market for palm oil with exports amounting to more than RM15 billion, followed by China and the EU, with RM8.45 billion and RM7 billion respectively.

"If using palm oil (for biojet fuel), yes, Malaysia is ready and I think it is ready to produce biojet fuel using the HEFA technology.

"For the palm by-product, I think we need some development of technology and this is a promising way because Malaysia has a lot of palm biomass," he said.

Zhao said Malaysia could export its biojet fuel to the European Union, followed by the United States (US) and China in the future.

"EU is the biggest market for the biojet because it has a strict target for using the biojet, followed by the US and China. In China, we have a large population and the demand for flights is increasing.

"China is also a big market for biojet fuel but Malaysia needs to promote it with the Chinese government," he said.

Zhao in his recent presentation said that the production of biojet fuels from EFB biomass via platform chemicals (furfural and methyl ethyl ketone) is technically feasible and the whole flow scheme has been developed in collaboration with MPOB with the successful synthesis of biojet fuels.

"The process for only producing biojet fuel is not economically feasible yet due to the high production cost, especially the cost of hydrogen."

"However, the co-production of platform chemicals could greatly improve the economic feasibility of the process," he said.

He said among the reasons why biojet fuel should be developed is because aviation accounts for two to three per cent of global carbon dioxide emission and as air travel is expected to double in the next 15 years, these numbers will grow rapidly.

Additionally, he said the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has already taken steps in the right direction by committing to achieving carbon neutral growth from 2020 onwards and net-zero carbon emission from the global air transport industry operations by 2050.


In the year 2021/2022, the domestic consumption of palm oil in Malaysia was around 3.3 million tonnes and Malaysia exported 15.35 million tonnes of palm oil in 2022.


Company Profile




TSH Resources Bhd owns oil palm plantations, mills, and forest areas in Southeast Asia. Crude palm oil and palm kernel are extracted from the oil palm plantations. The products are transferred to a mill and processed into ready-to-sell products. Additionally, one branch of the business focuses on generating and supplying electricity from a biomass plant. The forest areas are cultivated to manufacture and trade wood products. Reforestation becomes an integral part of the process to safeguard against shortages. Furthermore, the company will manufacture, sell, and trade cocoa products. Its processing facility primarily produces cocoa butter.

Green Energy and Waste Management

TSH plantation operations produce a significant amount of biomass by-products. Palm biomass such as pruned fronds, old palm trunks and treated palm oil mill effluent (POME) are recycled back to the soil as natural fertilizers.

Other forms of biomass such as fibre, shells and empty fruit bunches (EFB) are used as renewable energy sources to generate steam and electricity for mill processing. This green energy is able to sustain 98% of our mills’ energy needs.

Methane emission from the treatment of POME is a large contributor to the total operational emissions. All TSH Mill at Sabah has successfully commissioned biogas plants to capture methane gas and mitigate GHG emissions from POME.

In addition, TSH has a 12-megawatt (MWhr) biomass co-gen power plant & 3-megawatt (MWhr) Biogas engine at its Bio-Complex Plant at Tawau, Sabah that uses mesocarp fibre, palm kernel shells, EFB & methane gas from POME from its own Palm Oil Mill to satisfy almost all the steam and electricity requirements of the complex. The generated energy is connected to Sabah grid system (SESB), which is under SEDA FIT program.

6. Biomass to produce clean green renewable energy

Biomass & Biogas Power


Biomass Power

Apart from creating value for TSH and its shareholders, we are also contributing towards our environment. Our palm bio-integration approach taps the huge commercial potential of bio waste of the palm oil industry through a fully integrated complex in Kunak, Sabah, complete with biomass and biogas power plants as well as a pulp and paper plant.


The integrated complex is powered by renewable green energy from a 14MW biomass cogeneration plant and is the first biomass power plant in the country that is connected to the grid. The biomass power plant has a renewable energy power purchase agreement (REPPA) with Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd to supply up to 10MW of green electricity. The co-generation plant generates electricity and industrial steam from solid by-product of the mill.

Biogas Power

Biogas power is another eco-friendly project by TSH to tap sustainable energy from wastewater generated from the palm oil milling process or more commonly known as Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME). The aerobic activated sludge process involved during the harvesting of energy from POME not only results in regulatory compliance but also more environmentally friendly POME discharge. Its key processes of methane gas recovery and utilization for electricity generation results in a reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases. Most notably, all five of TSH’s renewable energy projects are registered as Clean Development Mechanism projects under the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Kind Regards

Calvin Tan

Please buy/sell after doing your own due diligence or consult your remisier/fund manager

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Biomass is a byproduct of Palm oil production

now it has turned into another avenue of income by bio-jet fuel

another one is graphene

2023-11-27 00:57



Proverbs 15:2 Amplified Bible (AMP)
The tongue of the wise speaks knowledge that is pleasing and acceptable, But the [babbling] mouth of fools spouts folly.


2023-11-28 02:24

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