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Power Plants in Southeast Asia Aim to Use Empty Fruit Bunch(EFB) as Fuel

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Apr 28, 2021

In recent years, the increasing costs of fossil fuel have encouraged heavy industries that are traditionally reliant on furnace oil, diesel and LPG to turn to alternative sources for energy. Even though the value generation from conversion of biomass to electricity is low compared to high value products, savings in terms of the displacement cost as well as reduction of government subsidies to fossil fuel must be taken into account.

Companies undertaking fuel switching activity are also able to certify their greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction activities which can be traded as carbon credits. This serves as an additional financial impetus for companies while improving their corporate social responsibility (CSR) image.

Oil palm industries generate abundant amount of biomass per year which when properly used will not only be able to solve the disposal problem but also can create value added products from this biomass.

The biomass from oil palm residue includes the fiber (PFF), and palm oil mill effluent (POME) oil palm trunk (OPT), oil palm frond (OPF), Palm kernel shell(PKS), empty fruit bunch (EFB), presses fruit. The OPF and OPT generated from oil palm plantation while the oil palm EFB from oil palm processing

Plenty power plants in Asia aim to diversify energy sources used for boiler fuel, which currently uses coal as the primary fuel, changed to use biomass material as fuel, in order to reduce CO2 emissions.

Oil palm EFB(Empty Fruit Bunch), is by-product from palm oil industry, can be obtained in large quantity , is effectively utilized to be boiler fuel after chopping. The combustion of solid fuels has been the mainstay of steam and power production for over 150 years. It is only relatively recently that oil and gas were available in sufficient quantities to justify their use in large power stations. Coal overtook wood in its use because of the much higher energy density but wood-fired boilers are still in widespread use worldwide, and especially where sustainable wood sources are available. The burning of biomass is therefore not a new technology, but in recent years combustion technologies have been designed to make the best use of this sustainable resource.

Palm empty fruit bunch (EFB) can be converted into short fibre to be used as boiler fuel to generate power supply. Conventional EFB treatment system consists of pressing and shredding processes to remove remaining oil and reduce the size of EFB to increase their burning efficiency in the boilers. However, high chlorine and potassium contents in the processed short EFB remained a challenge as these substances tend to adhere to the wall of boilers and reduce the effectiveness and shelf life of the boilers.

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