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SME targets sales of green energy generators

Energy company hopes to sell eight to 10 rice husk-powered generators worth a total of $1 million to the Kingdom’s mills

SME Renewable Energy Ltd is planning to sell up to 10 renewable energy generators – which make electricity by burning rice husks, corn cobs and peanut shells – to Cambodia’s rice mill owners this year, according to the company’s managing director.

SME Renewable Energy MD Rin Seyha said Monday that his company hopes to sell between eight and 10 of the small-scale biomass-powered generators worth a total of US$1 million, after importing them from India.

“We hope to sell all the machines because there are many potential rice mills in Cambodia that are not receiving enough power supply from the state yet,” Rin Seyha said.

The company has already sold three generators this year, two to rice mills in Siem Reap and the one to a mill in Battambang province.

The machines are priced between $65,000 and $150,000 each, last for up to eight years, and are capable of generating between 200 and 600 kilowatts of electricity, according to the company.

Rin Seyha estimated buyers would recoup the amount they spent on a machine within two and a half years if they used the machine for 10 hours a day.

Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy Victor deputy general director of renewable energy Victor Jona said that sales of these biomass-operated generators could help make Cambodia less dependent on oil to generate electricity.

“I think importing this kind of machine is a good project because it helps us reduce the expense on importing oil from other countries,” he said.

He said Cambodia currently spends at least $500 million importing oil each year, with most of it going towards electricity generation.

According to a technical study done by the company, burning 6 kilograms of rice husk generates as much electricity as a litre of diesel in an oil-powered generator.

SME Renewable Energy has sold 33 biomass generators since 2006, but unloaded only three last year during the global financial crisis.

Rin Seyha said that, with 400 rice mills currently operating in Cambodia, sales growth appeared promising, and that his company had plans to enter the garment sector.

“We hope to sell our generators to garment factories as well,” he said.

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