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Renewable, local electricity generation from palm oil mills: a case study from Peninsular Malaysia

Author(s):Ida Fahani Md Jaye, Jhuma Sadhukhan, Richard J. Murphy
Centre for Environmental Strategy, Faculty of Engineering & Physical Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 7XH,UK
International Journal of Smart Grid and Clean Energy, vol. 5, no. 2, April 2016: pp. 106-111
ISSN: 2315-4462 (Print)
ISSN: 2373-3594 (Online)
Digital Object Identifier: 10.12720/sgce.5.2.106-111

Abstract:The generation of electricity from fossil fuels is a major emitter of greenhouse gas (GHG) and other atmospheric emissions in Malaysia. With an average of 0.77 kg CO2/kWh and amounts of trace gasses emitted from electrical power generation, Malaysia is subject to associated adverse effects of global warming, acidification and urban smog. Mitigation of these negative consequences by incorporating renewable energy resources into the national power generation mix is a goal of the 2010 National Renewable Energy Policy and in this context, we have begun to explore the potential for local sources of small-scale ‘green electricity’ generation as a feasible option for the supply of renewable electricity. Such generation plants could use the abundant resources of Empty Fruit Bunches (EFBs) and Palm Oil Mill Effluents (POMEs) from Palm Oil (PO) mills. In our modelling, the surplus energy potential of an exemplar generation plant was scaled to the available surplus biomass resources of a PO mill and to the local demand of the number of local domestic users that could potentially be supplied. The potential reductions in environmental impacts and the level of Certified Emission Reduction (CER) from implementation of the proposed plant in comparison with conventional average grid supply were also assessed. The proposed surplus electricity generation from the PO mill was more than adequate to supply the estimated 2620 domestic users within a notional 10 km radius of the mill and could avoid approx. 6000 tonnes CO2e per annum from centrally generated electricity for these homes. This prospect also offers a solution for optimising the uses of the mill’s biomass residues.

Keywords:Global warming, renewable electricity, distributed generation, palm oil mill, anaerobic digestion, combustion

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