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New biomass project in three Cambodian factories

Supported by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy launched a four-year agricultural residue biomass project yesterday, and officials said a government policy on energy efficiency is under development.

At a workshop on climate change-related technology transfer and the use of agricultural-residue biomass for sustainable energy solutions, Sat Samy, secretary of state at the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy, said the ministry will support three pilot projects in factories in Battambang and Kampong Chnnang over the next four years.

“We are focusing on capacity-building, promotion of agricultural-residue biomass, contribution and development,” he said.

With the support of UNIDO, two rice-milling and one rubber-processing factory will receive training in working with biomass technology.

However, the companies need to invest $3.4 million in the necessary facilities. The Global Environment Facility grant will fund $1.94 million of that figure, UNIDO will invest up to $200,000, and the Cambodian government will contribute $150,000, said Permod Kumar Gupta, UNIDO’s chief technical adviser.

“This technology only makes sense for big factories with high energy consumption like rubber, cassava and sugar factories,” he said.

UNIDO is working with the government on a policy promoting energy efficiency to be implemented in May this year, Gupta added.

“We hope for a market demand for biomass technology and are looking forward to having a policy soon,” he said.

About 75 per cent of the country’s energy needs are met by the burning of biomass, according to the 2010 report “Energy Outlook for Asia and the Pacific”, released at the Pacific Energy Summit in Tokyo.

“The [electricity] grid is not reliable, so we need to look for alternatives,” Carlo Figà Talamanca, chief executive  officer of Sustainable Green Fuel Enterprise, commented yesterday.


To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Thust at



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