Bernama. Pioneer Bio Industries Corp Sdn Bhd (PBIC) claims it will be able to produce 6.48 billion litres (1.7 billion gallons US) of nipah palm ethanol yearly when its planned refineries there begin operations in 2009.
That level of production is an increase from the company’s earlier projection of 1.22 billion gallons. (Earlier post.)
Nipah palm ethanol is produced by the fermentation of the sap from nipah palm trees (Nypa fruiticans). Chairman Md Badrul Shah Mohd Noor said the Perak state government has awarded the company the rights to harvest nipah sap on 10,000 hectares of land, for which it has to pay RM324 million (US$94 million) yearly.
Nipah has a very high sugar-rich sap yield. According to one study (Hamilton and Murphy 1988), nipah sap can produce 6,480-15,600 liters of ethanol per hectare, compared to 3,350-6,700 liters/hectare from sugarcane.
PBIC, a subsidiary of Pioneer Vaccination Biotech Corp Sdn Bhd, holds the patent to produce ethanol from nipah palm sap. Md Badrul Shah said the company will sign a multi-billion dollar contract with a major international company in July to supply nipah-based ethanol over a five-year period.