“The successful implementation of the waste biomass-fired heating has provided us with great motivation to strive to be a more environmentally friendly and socially responsible company.” Keo Mom, CEO of LYLY Food Ltd.
The saying “waste not, want not” has been around for centuries, yet modern society has been slow to heed the words of its forebears. On average, we generate 1.2 kilogrammes of municipal solid waste per person per day and rising, according to the World Bank. The agriculture sector is little different: some 5 billion tonnes of waste agricultural biomass are generated every year.
However, UNEP is working to turn this biomass, which is the thermal equivalent of 1.2 billion tonnes of oil, to more productive uses instead of leaving it to rot and produce methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.
UNEP has implemented pilot projects in Cambodia, Costa Rica and India to identify and assess suitable technologies for the conversion of biomass into energy – providing individual businesses with benefits and demonstrating to governments the advantages of national roll-out.
One such project was implemented in Cambodia by UNEP’s International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC) – which has waste agricultural biomass as one of its seven focal areas under the Global Partnership on Waste Management – and the National Cleaner Production Office-Cambodia.
At LYLY Food Industry, one of the leading snack producers in Cambodia, 463 litres of diesel oil was needed each day for its production processes, or 27.23 litres per tonne of product. Due to the high price of diesel oil and the environmental impact, the company owner, Ms. Keo Mom, wanted to identify an alternative energy source.
The implementation of the waste agricultural biomass technology led to savings of 60,413 litres of oil per year, avoiding an estimated 159 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. It took the company just nine months to recoup its $39,000 investment.
“The successful implementation of the waste biomass-fired heating has not only reduced our operational cost and environmental footprint, but has also provided us with great motivation to strive to be a more environmentally friendly and socially responsible company,” said Ms. Keo Mom. “Our continued efforts have even won us the ‘Green Industry’ award from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. We are committed to the ongoing process of improving our energy efficiency and environmental performance so that we may become a model Cambodian company.”
The project demonstrated the viability and benefits of the technology, and a national strategy for Cambodia now envisages utilizing at least 50 per cent of waste agricultural biomass as a source of energy by 2025, and at least 70 per cent by 2030, through building the required infrastructure and developing human resources.