Indonesia’s Asian Agri to optimise excess supply from biogas facilities

Asian Agri, an Indonesian palm oil specialist, is producing excess electricity from its biogas plants in Sumatra and is appealing to investors to buy this surplus power.

According to the Jakarta Post, the biogas facilities have been in operation since last year.

Asian Agri, a subsidiary of the Singapore-based Royal Golden Eagle (RGE) conglomerate group, currently has five biogas plants: two each in Riau and North Sumatra and one in Jambi, each capable of producing up to 2MW.

Asian Agri's Buatan I Plantation mill manager Parnel Siagian said the company was interested in selling the excess power supply to any party, including state electricity company PLN.

“Our negotiations with PLN is still in its initial phase. We hope to hear good news from them, but in the meantime we are also open to other parties that are interested [in buying the electricity],”Siagian said as reported in the Jakarta Post.

The 5 x 2 MW plants are used to power daily operations of the firm’s five palm oil mills in the respective locations, however, only 700 kilowatts are used from each plant so there is 5 x 1.3 MW excess available for sale to other parties.

Parnel said if PLN was interested in buying, the state operator could potentially power 35,000 small households.

The five power plants, running since 2015, are fired by biogas produced from palm oil mill effluent (POME), the waste water discharged from the sterilisation process, crude oil clarification process and cracked mixture separation process. POME produces huge amounts of methane gas from its anaerobic process.

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