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Heineken Cambodia breaks ground on biomass plant

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Heineken Cambodia and Singapore-based Berkley Energy Commercial Industrial Solutions have started work on a biomass power plant, which will generate thermal energy for the brewer’s production site in Phnom Penh.

The $5.8 million (€5.1 million) project is expected to go online in July next year and create 50 jobs. The plant will burn rice husks sourced from the nearby Prey Veng province, providing an extra market for rice farmers and millers.

According to a detailed report by the Khmer Times, a ground-breaking ceremony was held on 8 December. Heineken Cambodia said the plant would enable the brewery to reach 100% renewable thermal energy and cut its CO2 emissions in production by 60%, saving 17,000 tonnes of CO2 annually.

“In the past decade, we have been focusing on energy efficiency and have started to use renewable energy such as biogas,” Heineken Cambodia’s corporate affairs director Anne Ollivier said. “We have already reduced our CO2 emissions by 50% since 2013.”

Heineken’s new biomass plant is expected to add more than 9 MW of installed capacity to Cambodia’s existing plants. By the end of 2016, the country had five biomass power plants, representing nearly 18 MW of installed capacity and 42 GWh of energy.

In 2017, two plants representing an additional 21 MW of biomass generation came online. By 2020, the nation had 33.57 MW of installed biomass capacity, representing 1.42% of the total energy mix, according to the Ministry of Mines and Energy. That dropped to 30.57 MW in 2020 (1.05% of the total).

Biomass is Cambodia’s primary energy source; fuel wood and other biomass accounted for an estimated 44.4% of the total according to a 2018 Asian Development Bank report.