Biotech company well oiled in Malaysia

Written on the 15 September 2010

A CURRUMBIN-based biotech company has signed a joint-venture deal that will drive expansion into the lucrative Malaysian palm oil market.

Bio Renewable Solutions take control of the bio-gas recovery of one Malaysian palm oil mill, with around 20 other sites in various stages of negotiation.

Company director Lionel Freedman, says Malaysia produces the largest quantities of palm oil in the world and with the government pushing to make the industry environmentally sustainable, the growth potential far exceeds that in Australia. Fast food conglomerates are the largest importers of palm oil.

“There are 417 palm oil mills in Malaysia and only 18 of them have bio-gas recovery instalments. This means that around 96 per cent of our company’s target market is untapped,” says Freedman.

“There is literally hundreds of millions of dollars on the table in support loans of up to 60 per cent from the government. We’ve already been approached by at least three finance providers looking to assess our company.

“We have done some pretty serious projections and provided we get the appropriate amount of capital for the business, we believe we have the capability to be a $100 million business.”

Freedman founded Bio Energy Solutions in 2009 after stepping down as long-time CEO of unlisted public company Quantum BioEnergy Limited. Bio Renewable is using technology developed by Quantum BioEnergy — a high density poly-ethylene cover to extract intensified quantities of methane gas from anaerobic waste lagoons found on palm oil mill sites.

The methane is then sold back to the client or directly to energy grids for fuel in energy-creating gas engines.

“It’s a win-win situation. We are creating renewable energy and reducing our clients’ greenhouse gas emissions while turning a profit for our company,” says Freedman.

“Our early projections forecast around $1 million will be generated in revenue per site. We predict that with an affordable rate of growth we will have 20-30 sites within three years which will create well over $20 or $30 million in revenue.”

Following consolidation of the Malaysian palm oil operations, Bio Energy Solutions’ next move will be into other South East Asian markets such as Indonesia. It also plans to diversify its methane extractions to include sewerage and landfill.

The company worked with the Federal Government’s Austrade’s Carbon Mission to assist in opening up new markets.

“The opportunities for Australian companies are huge,” says Freedman.

“Australian companies are very highly regarded in South East Asia. There is a confidence in the integrity and professionalism of Australian companies and there is a strong demand for biotech solutions in those countries.”


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