ASB Biodiesel keen to conquer local market with new plant

ASB Biodiesel set to fire up generators and churn out 100,000 tonnes of fuel a year

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 October, 2013, 11:46pm

The operator behind what is soon to become the city's biggest biodiesel factory is setting an ambitious target to capture the domestic market for turning gutter and waste oil into feedstock.

ASB Biodiesel will fire up the generators at its processing plant on the Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate next month. The firm expects it to churn out 100,000 tonnes of biodiesel a year, most for export to Europe.

"In a few years there's no reason why [most] of what we produce won't be consumed domestically," CEO Anthony Dixon said.

The firm is backed with US$165 million of capital from the Bahrain-based Al Salam Bank.

The plant will refine 200,750 tonnes each year of grease trap waste into pure "B100" biodiesel blends for construction, transport and, later, petrol companies. About 95 litres of biodiesel can be produced with every 100 litres of waste oil.

That will be enough to offset 3.6 per cent, or 260,000 tonnes, of greenhouse gas emissions from transport each year, according to the company. But vehicle emissions of nitrogen dioxide and coarse pollutant particles (PM10) are only slightly lower for biodiesel than for regular diesel.

Wastewater generated by processing can be refined into bio-gas, which will power most of the plant's operations.

Dixon said producing biodiesel from waste oil, such as that retrieved from restaurant grease traps, was more environmentally friendly and more economically feasible than regular diesel and even crop-based diesels, which most biodiesels were made of.

"Everywhere in the world cooks with a lot of oil and that needs to be disposed of. We have a way of converting it into something that is economically and environmentally valuable," he said. "Very few people are producing biodiesels with waste oils."

Biodiesel from waste oil is fractionally cheaper than crop-based biodiesels made of palm or soy as it is sourced at almost no cost and does not require vast tracts of land to produce.

Dixon urged the government to implement a mandatory blend ratio for diesel vehicles.

"Unlike electric vehicles, no charging stations are needed and no engine modifications are required, he said. "The benefits would be instantaneous."