Asian Agri’s Commitment to Clean Energy with Biogas Plants

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Asian Agri’s biogas plants use organic waste from the palm oil production process to generate clean, renewable energy, powering our operations and local communities, and helping reduce emissions.

The biogas plants are constructed at our palm oil mills to take advantage of the readily available supply of leftover biomass from the production process, which is known as Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME). Before the biogas plants were constructed, POME would only be used for land applications, either as a fertilizer, to maintain soil moisture or to prevent soil erosion.

At the biogas plant, the POME is fed into a digester tank, where it is converted into methane by bacteria. The gas is then sent to the power plant, which generates 2.2MW of power, enough for the 700KW needed by the palm oil mill with the remaining 1.5MW sent to local communities.

In January 2018 Asian Agri opened our seventh biogas plant, and we plan to complete a total of 20 by 2020, one at each of our mills. The 20 plants will have a combined power generation capacity of 44MW.

Because methane is significantly cleaner than coal and other fossil fuels, the biogas plants have major environmental benefits, reducing emissions at our palm oil mills which use the biogas by 60 per cent. We also plan to install methane capture facilities at our mills by 2020, further reducing emissions.

The biogas plants support the Indonesian government’s plan to increase power generation in the country by 35,000 MW from 2015 to 2019, and for 25 per cent of that new power to be generated from renewable sources. The government’s plan is in response to a shortage of electricity generation capacity as demand in the country grows.

Biogas Renewable Energy

At the start of 2018 Asian Agri had seven biogas plants: two in North Sumatra, three in Riau Province, and two in Jambi Province.

In September 2017 Asian Agri won the Anugerah Energi Lestari Award 2017 in recognition of our commitment to produce energy from organic waste, and in November was honored with a Platinum Award in the Environmental Management Program category during the Indonesia CSR Awards 2017.

Our biogas plants also support national and international development goals. Increasing power generation helps achieve SDG 9 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which calls for growth in industry, innovation and infrastructure, as well as SDG 7, which aims to ensure access to clean and affordable energy.