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Biomass & Pellets in Southeast Asia Vs Philippines

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The Biomass Industry in the Philippines is an emerging sector with significant potential for growth. It encompasses various forms of organic materials used for energy production, including agricultural residues, forest residues, animal waste, and municipal solid waste. Here are some key points about the biomass industry in the Philippines:

Diverse Resources: The Philippines has a rich variety of biomass resources, which are primarily used for household cooking in rural areas and for power and steam generation in industrial applications.

Economic Advantages: Biomass power generation offers economic benefits, such as creating jobs in rural areas and providing a renewable source of energy.

Regional Development: The ASEAN strategy on sustainable biomass energy aims to support agriculture communities and rural development through 2030, focusing on modern biomass energy sources.

Capacity and Distribution: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao have varying capacities for biomass energy, with Luzon generating 81 MW, Visayas 136 MW, and Mindanao 24 MW.

Industry Players: Companies like Reurasia Management Corporation and others are involved in the development and operation of biomass energy projects in the country.

Until now the main focus of biomass in the country has centered around power generation, generally utilizing Rice Husk and Bagasse. However, the availability of rice husk is limited, and bagasse very seasonal, which has led to drive to look at other sources, including Napier grass – one example is the Busuanga Renewable Energy Development (BRED) project being developed by Reurasia to provide electricity to the island which is currently sourced from Diesel generators. BRED has also secured some 5000Ha of land for cultivation of the Napier Grass feedstock, with only a potion needed for the power plant; the rest will be processed in a new pelletising facility and exported to clients across the Philippines.

There is essentially no natural gas available in the Philippines an industry has traditionally selected either coal of fuel oils. The wide use of coal allows for easy blending, or full conversion, of the coal furnace / boiler to biomass with often just minor adjustments. The low density of biomass at its source is prohibitive for efficient transportation; this is easily fixed by the densification through forming in to pellets and has led to a rapid growth in trade across Southeast Asia in the last few years:

Vietnam:

Vietnam is the leading biomass pellet producer in Southeast Asia, with an estimated annual production capacity of over 6 million metric tons.

Indonesia:

Indonesia is a major exporter of biomass pellets, with an estimated annual production capacity of around 2 million metric tons.

Malaysia:

Malaysia has a growing biomass pellet industry, with an estimated annual production capacity of over 1 million metric tons.

Thailand:

Thailand is a significant biomass pellet producer, with an estimated annual production capacity of around 750,000 metric tons.

Cambodia:

Cambodia has a small but growing biomass pellet industry, with an estimated annual production capacity of around 300,000 metric tons.

Philippines:

The current pelletizing production is very limited and estimated to be just 10,000 metric tons per year. Berde-Kaway understands the potential and opportunity and has ambitious plans to drive the Philippines industrial use of pellets forward.

Key Market Drivers:

  • Growing demand from domestic power plants and industrial users: Southeast Asia’s growing energy needs are driving demand for renewable energy sources, including biomass pellets.
  • Favorable government policies: Many Southeast Asian countries have implemented policies and incentives to support the development of the biomass pellet industry.
  • Abundant feedstock availability: Southeast Asia has a wealth of biomass resources, including agricultural residues, wood chips, and sawdust.
  • Strategic location: Southeast Asia is well-positioned to export biomass pellets to markets in Europe, Asia, and North America.

Challenges:

 

  • Logistics and transportation costs: Transportation of biomass pellets can be expensive, especially for producers located in remote areas.
  • Standardization and quality control: There is a need for harmonized standards and quality control measures for biomass pellets to ensure consistency and reliability.
  • Competition from other renewable energy sources: Biomass pellets face competition from other renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power.
  • Sustainability concerns: Some stakeholders raise concerns about the sustainability of biomass pellet production, especially regarding deforestation and land use changes.
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Mark Edmonds

CEO of Berde-Kaway Agriventures Corporation

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