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Wilhelmina, Ecoscience Collaborate On Black Pellet Plant In Kuantan

KUALA LUMPUR: Integrated palm oil milling services provider, Ecoscience International Bhd (EIB), through its wholly-owned subsidiary Ecoscience Manufacturing & Engineering Sdn Bhd (EME), signed a collaboration agreement (CA) with Maatschappij Wilhelmina N.V. (MWNV) for the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) work of a nominally 15 metric tonne per hour TG2 black pellet plant in Kawasan Perindustrian Gebeng Fasa III, Mukim Sungai Karang, Kuantan, Pahang.

Signing the agreement to kick-start the new TG2 black pellet plant. (From left to the right): Maatschappij Wilhelmina N.V. co-founder and chief operating officer David Hiel, co-founder and chief executive officer Barthold van Doorn, Ecoscience International Bhd managing director Wong Choi Ong and independent non-executive chairman Datuk Tan Yee Boon.

Under the CA, MWNV will finance, own and operate the TG2 black pellet plant.

The Dutch renewable energy company intends to engage EME as the contractor to undertake the EPC work for the plant and manufacture certain structures, components, and equipment to be incorporated into the plant.

Upon finalising details, both parties will execute a definitive EPC and master manufacturing agreement, which is expected by the fourth quarter of 2024.

MWNV will outsource the operation and maintenance (O&M) of the TG2 black pellet plant to EME, formalising this through an O&M agreement.

MWNV co-founder and chief executive officer Barthold van Doorn said the company’s goal is to operate with a carbon-neutral impact.

“We see tremendous opportunities in generating renewable and carbon-neutral energy through recycling industrial agricultural waste streams.

“We are primarily focused on the Southeast Asia region and Malaysia ticked all the boxes for us to locate our first plant,” he said in a statement.

Based in the Netherlands, MWNV’s principal business activity is converting agricultural waste streams into sustainable energy in the form of TG2 black pellets.

The plant converts agricultural waste, such as empty fruit bunch (EFB), into TG2 black pellets, which are a drop-in-coal replacement fuel.

“This is why we chose Malaysia as the location for our plant. In fact, this TG2 black pellet plant, which will use EFB as feedstock, will be the first of its kind in the world.

“As the second largest producer of palm oil globally, we understand Malaysia generates some 20 million tons of EFB waste a year.

“Instead of being left to decay or fill up landfills, these can be transformed into a clean and high-energy coal replacement that could reduce as much as 12 million tons of methane, equivalent to 300 million tons of CO2. This can certainly contribute to the Malaysian government’s target of becoming a carbon-neutral nation by 2050,” Barthold said.

He said MWNV’s investment in Malaysia is only the first step in its overall strategic expansion plan.

“We have earmarked a number of locations in Malaysia and Southeast Asia to establish more TG2 black pellet plants that will also use other agricultural wastes, such as coconut husks and rubber tree wood, as feedstock,” Barthold added.

EIB managing director Wong Choi Ong said the TG2 black pellet plant is expected to be the largest project in the company’s history.

“In addition, we see this as a sizeable foreign direct investment into Malaysia. Besides taking on the EPC role, we are expected to also operate, maintain and manage the plant for MWNV upon commissioning.

“The plant is expected to give our orderbook a significant boost, as well as provide consistent recurring income to our Group in the future,” he said.

Wong said the EIB is also contributing to the country’s sustainability cause through its expertise.

“This reflects our commitment to sustainable energy production and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“On balance, we are upbeat on our company’s prospects and we certainly look forward to continuing our support for MWNV as they build more TG2 black pellet plants in the region,” Wong said.

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