Oil Palm Biomass Centre

The Malaysian Oil Palm Biomass Centre (OPBC) is a public-private partnership aiming to unify strong Malaysian players from industry and academia. OPBC brings relevant available facilities under one single umbrella, focused around the development of a sustainable palm-based industrial sector for the production of biochemicals, biofuels and bioenergy. This strategy aims to combine and complement the many, yet distributed R&D and piloting investments in Malaysia and improve its efficiency.


Biobased Economy

Malaysia wishes to promote innovation in the Oil Palm Sector to become an economic and sustainability leader. Malaysia has a target of 40% reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per 2020, relative to the year 2005 and the desire to achieve a developed nation status in the same year. To achieve these targets the development of a biobased economy is key. The transition to a biobased economy can only be successful when undertaken by a strong consortium consisting of both public and private players.

Economic and societal relevance

Malaysia produces approximately 20 million tonnes of palm oil annually. But at least equally important is the coproduction of 46.6 million tonnes biomass. The biomass contains substantial amounts of valuable proteins, phytochemicals and nutrients (NPK) that originate from the fertilizer used in the plantations. Today the biomass is to a large extent not used and is left on the land. Changing this would offer both economical as well as sustainability and soil quality benefits: producing second generation biofuels, bioenergy and biochemicals as well as high quality fertilizer through biorefining and efficient conversion can make the economics of the utilisation of biomass profitable and avoid unnecessary GHG emissions. Fully utilising palm biomass can potentially contribute up to 5% of today’s Malaysian GDP of RM 663 billion.

Global leadership

The OPBC aims at leadership in the (international) palm biomass value chain, similar to the sugar cane focused initiatives such as the BIOEN Programme in Brazil. Given the absence of a strong chemical industry in Malaysia, OPBC makes use of the knowledge and experience that has been developed within the Dutch model of public-private partnerships such as that reflected in the BE-Basic consortium.