A growing opportunity for Australian green energy start-ups exists in Malaysia due to the size of the country’s palm oil industry, according to the Australian Institute of Commercialisation.
The AIC has linked up with the Clean Technology Innovation Centre to help clean tech companies identify commercial opportunities as part of the Federal Government’s Enterprise Connect initiative.
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According to the AIC, Malaysia produces significant quantities of waste from palm oil extraction and processing, said to be highly damaging to the environment.
“There are some 400 palm oil mills in Malaysia, each with the potential to generate an average of one megawatt of renewable energy from its liquid waste stream,” the AIC says.
“Apart from the obvious market opportunity, there are incentives to collaborate with local partners on R&D where the benefit can be realised by Malaysians.”
“The Malaysian Government is an active supporter of developing new knowledge and value from applied research that leads to commercial outcomes of benefit to Malaysian industry, particularly in biotechnology sectors.”
AIC deputy chief executive John Kapeleris says Malaysia is keen to eliminate its reliance on palm oil water.
“One of Malaysia’s key focuses is on concentrating that dependence to other energy sources. Solar energy [is a priority]… Another opportunity is around wind farms and wind energy, and also tidal energy,” Kapeleris says.
“One of the projects we’ve investigating is the possibility of developing algae-based bio-fuels in Malaysia, utilising Australian knowhow.”
Kapeleris says the AIC is looking for Australian companies that possess a specific capability or “piece of the puzzle”.
The AIC has developed a draft value chain for algae-based bio-fuels production, consisting of the following areas: research, development, production, extraction, processing and refining.
According to Kapeleris, there are only pilot production plans in Australia, which represents a big gap in the market.
“If organisations are looking [at commercialisation] or have a piece of the puzzle, then there is an opportunity to access international opportunities in bio-fuels,” he says.
The AIC recently helped serial entrepreneur Lionel Freedman develop the first Australian technology that converts the by-product of liquid waste streams into renewable energy.
After establishing and managing Quantum Bio Energy, Freedman shifted focus to explore opportunities to apply the technology into the Asian market.
He targeted Malaysia’s palm oil waste sector, and formed Bio Renewable Solutions as a new venture to capitalise on this growth.
Freedman says the AIC’s assistance, via the Partner Linkage Service, provided the company with new connections to take its technology to Malaysia.
“These connections and facilitation supported our efforts to break into the Malaysian market, which would have otherwise been much more protracted and time-consuming,” Freedman says.