Palm Oil Engineering Bulletin No,67 (Apr - June 2003) p11-14, 19-20
Empty fruit bunches evaluation – mulch in plantation vs. fuel for electricity generation
MENON, Ravidranathan N. Narayana

There are a number of compelling reasons for supporting the use of empty fruit bunches (EFB) as a source of fuel for renewable energy (RE) power generation in Malaysia. Although the current use of EFB as a mulch does have financial benefits, there are many more avenues for better financial gains as well as a number of other advantages to be derived by using EFB as a fuel for RE power generation. The rapid depletion of fossil fuel requires an alternative. Most developed nations are presently seriously pursuing the development of biomass as an alternative method of power generation. In Malaysia fortunately, there is always a ready source of biomass in the form of EFB that can be easily collected and made available for exploitation in the palm oil mills. All that needs to be done is to convert the energy already existent in the fuel in the most efficient manner and the country will be well on its way to pursue this vital, sustainable and renewable source of energy of the future. As the country is required to meet the target of achieving 5% of the grid connected electrical energy from this source by the year 2005, we have to act and act fast at that. Our main achievement will be the reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions if biomass-based RE power generation is utilized as this will invariably result in substantial gain in the volume of carbon credits. A deeper insight into the mechanism of the utilization of EFB as a mulch or fuel as well as the financial implications involved is presented elsewhere in this paper.

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