2 Japanese firms want to convert oil palm waste to energy

Sabah produces three million tonnes of empty fruit bunches and kernel shell, a raw material used in biomass energy generation.

KOTA KINABALU: Two Japanese firms, with interest in renewable biomass energy, are expected to invest close to RM300 million in Sabah’s Lahad Datu Palm Oil Industrial Cluster (POIC).

One of the firms is expected to sign the lease agreement with POIC on Dec 3 in Tokyo.

The other, F Bit Communications Corporation, will do the same here later this month. It now operates a 10-Megawatt biomass plant.

These two companies were among 140 firms that attended a business seminar in Japan on Friday to attract investors there.

POIC is one of the Sabah companies on a trade mission now to Japan. Chief Minister Mohd Shafie Apdal is leading the nine-day mission, ending on Dec 6.

POIC CEO Pang Teck Wai.

POIC CEO Pang Teck Wai said the two Japanese firms had shown keen interest.

“I believe we will soon secure an agreement for them to operate in POIC,” he said in Kobe, Japan.

Pang said this would help create employment opportunities for Sabahans and boost production of high-value products, such as carbon.

Sabah produces around three million tonnes of empty fruit bunches and kernel shells annually — a factor that has attracted the two Japanese firms to invest in Sabah.

This initial investment is expected to attract more investments from Japan as the Lahad Datu POIC port will facilitate export of products direct to Japan, bypassing Singapore, Port Klang and Bintulu.

The strategic location of the POIC port is another plus point as this will be cost-effective.