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Sime Darby, Mitsui to Collaborate on Bioethanol Plant

Sime Darby Plantation Sdn., a unit of Malaysia’s Sime Darby Bhd., said it is collaborating with Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co. to “construct and operate” a bioethanol demonstration plant in the Malaysian state of Selangor.

The plant, which will convert empty oil palm fruit bunches into bioethanol, will have a processing capacity of 1.25 metric tons per day, Sime Darby said in an e-mailed statement today. The plant will collect operational data and confirm the technical feasibility of commercial-scale production of bioethanol from this source, the statement said.

“The empty fruit bunch can now move further up the value chain as a source of biofuel,” Franki Anthony Dass, executive vice-president of Sime Darby Plantations, said in the statement. “Successful commercialization will also help in managing solid waste produced in oil palm estates.”

The production of biofuel from non-food feedstock such as empty fruit bunches and other palm oil biomass will help to partially meet the global fuel demand without jeopardizing food supply, according to the statement.

Test production of bioethanol at the plant will start next year and the product will be sold in Malaysia as a raw material for plastics, and later possibly exported to Japan, the Nikkei newspaper reported earlier today.

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