Malaysia will host Asia’s largest biorefinery complex by 2014 via the strategic collaboration between the Terengganu state government, Malaysian Biotechnology Corp Sdn Bhd (BiotechCorp) and the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC).
Developed by ECERDC, the RM170 million complex located at Kertih Biopolymer Park, Terengganu, is slated to begin construction this August and operations are expected to commence by early 2014.
“This is a major landmark project and the first in Malaysia to utilise cellulosic feedstock to produce bioderivatives such as advanced carbohydrates, biochemicals, biomaterials, biofertilisers and active feed ingredient,” said BiotechCorp Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Datuk Mohd Nazlee Kamal.
He was speaking to the media after the signing ceremony for the project which was witnessed by Terengganu Menteri Besar, Datuk Seri Ahmad Said here today.
“The total project is expected to generate a cumulative gross national income of RM20.4 billion by 2020 and produce 2,500 green-jobs for Malaysia, with the production of 800,000 metric tonnes per annum of bioderivatives,” he added.
He said with an anticipated foreign direct investment (FDI) of RM6.8 billion, the 1,000-hectare complex is expected to be occupied by eight global industrial biotechnology players by 2015.
Mohd Nazlee also said that to ensure uninterrupted downstream operations, 30,000 hectares of land had been dedicated for feedstock plantations, that will produce 10.5 million tonnes of wood chips annually from Acacia mangium and Leucaena leucocephala or locally known as “Petai Belalang.”
He said that BiotechCorp, together with ECERDC has been actively engaging several global industry biotechnology players, especially from the United States, Europe, Korea and Japan to set up their bio-based chemical manufacturing facility at the Kertih Biopolymer Park.
“This collaboration proves that ECER remains an attractive destination for investments among both local and international investors,” he added.
ECERDC CEO Datuk Jebasingam Issace John said to date, his organisation and BiotechCorp had successfully secured a RM2 billion investment from a joint-venture between Korea’s CJ CheilJedang and France’s Arkema to develop the world’s first bio-methionine facility at the Kertih Biopolymer Park.
“Via this new investment, ECER now has secured over RM10 billion in investments,” he added.
He said the ECERDC is expected to see RM15 billion in investments this year.
Of the RM10 billion in investments, RM2.1 billion was from Pahang, RM5 billion from Johor and RM500 million from Kelantan, with the rest coming from Terengganu.
“We have already secured new investments in the park worth RM2.5 billion which will take shape within the next one to two years, and the details will be announced soon.
“We are targeting to secure RM7 billion in investments for the park by year- end,” Jebasingam added.
The biorefinery is an overall processing plant which integrates technologies necessary to convert and extract biomass feedstock into a spectrum of valuable products and thus maximise the value derived from it.
The industry which will create a shift from conventional fossil fuel to more sustainable bio-based production, is expected to create about RM1 trillion in revenue and 800,000 employment opportunities globally by 2030.