EFB pellets produced on a trial basis (source: IHI)
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IHI Corp established a wholly-owned subsidiary in Malaysia to run a business of producing, selling and exporting biomass fuel derived from empty fruit bunches of palm oil (EFBs).

This was announced Nov 14, 2018. The name of the subsidiary is IHI Solid Biomass Malaysia Sdn Bhd (ISBM).

A large amount of EFBs is produced in the process of extracting palm oil. However, they are easily rotted and contain large amounts of water, ash and salt. So, most of them are disposed of, contaminating land and generating methane gas. IHI established a method to turn EFBs into low-ash EFB pellets (high-quality biomass fuel) and mass-produce them.

With the establishment of the new company, IHI aims to produce 400,000-500,000t of EFB pellets per year within three years. The business will improve the sustainability of the palm industry, which is one of the main industries of Malaysia, and contribute to stably supplying biomass fuel, whose demand is expected to grow mainly in Japan, the company said.

In Malaysia, IHI is making efforts to use waste produced in the process of producing palm oil and reduce environmental load. Thus far, the company carried out verification projects for producing oil palm trunk (OPT) pellets and processing palm oil mill effluent (POME).

Moreover, IHI signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Nextgreen Global Berhad (NGGB, a major printing company based in Malaysia) and Nomura Holdings Inc to consider a partnership for making use of palm tree residue Nov 8, 2018. The three companies will evaluate the feasibility of a joint business of producing EFB-based paper pulp and biomass fuel.

Furthermore, they will consider a partnership for developing an environmentally-conscious industrial park called "Green Technology Park" by using palm waste dealt by NGGB.