PENANG, 1 March 2013 - Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) through a joint strategic collaboration with its industry partner, Enerbon Sdn. Bhd., launched a mini biogas plant capable of generating electricity supply of up to 600 kilowatt per day, here today.
In this pilot project, from the estimated minimum of 400 kg food waste collected daily in USM, it can generate of up to 100 kwh of electricity which is equivalent to the electricity used in 30 homes or 150 individuals per day.
USM Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Dato’ Omar Osman said that the main goal of installing the plant on campus is to develop a detailed study in channeling academia-industry expertise to benefit the underprivileged community.
He said the plant is designed according to industry standard but modified to a smaller scale for use in remote or rural areas, taking into account the average population of 500 people.
“The plant works based on the concept of zero waste in which cut grass and food waste generated from all cafeterias and eateries on campus are sent to the tank for processing.
“The food waste will be broken down by biological processes to produce methane gas which is capable of generating electricity and biogas which are channeled back into the USM power supply grid,” he said.
He said this in a press conference after launching the Mini Biogas Plant here today. Also present were the Managing Director of Enerbon Sdn. Bhd., Martin Schmidt, and Project Coordinator, Assoc. Prof Nik Fuaad Nik Ab Llah.
Omar also said that upon completion of the electricity generation process, the resulting waste could be processed as fertiliser by USM Development Office for use in landscaping the campus, therefore making the project even more sustainable.
He also said that the joint initiative between USM, ENERBON and USAINS Holdings Sdn. Bhd. also reflected USM’s commitment in cultivating sustainability in daily life.
“We encourage such collaboration whereby the industry comes to the university to offer its expertise, integrating local research expertise to produce products that can empower peoples' lives.
“This is a new way we develop our research products by means of collaboration between a potential industry which can afford large-scale investment and the university which has highly skilled researchers,” he said.
In the meantime, a RM2 million plant was set up in USM for free by Enerbon, a German company that specialises in renewable technology, as a contribution in carrying out joint research with USM.
Through this joint venture, the two parties will help promote the use of this facility through the hosting of seminars, workshops and provide training to customers who wish to develop similar technology in their area. Text: Marziana Mohamed Alias/Photo: Mohd. Fairus Md. Isa/Translation: Yong Check Yoon