NextFuels narrowing search for site of pilot plant

By NextFuels | October 08, 2013

NextFuels, a pioneer in transforming agricultural residue into biofuels, is actively narrowing the search for a site for its initial pilot plant to Southeast Asia. The pilot plant will demonstrate how NextFuels can economically produce transportation and industrial fuels from wet, unprocessed agricultural waste from palm oil plantations.

NextFuels is currently examining sites in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. The company has begun development of the pilot plant in the Netherlands and will ship it to the site in Southeast Asia in 2014. NextFuels will operate the pilot plant in conjunction with strategic partners in the coming year. After the demonstration run of the pilot plant, NextFuels will begin commercial development and deployment in the Southeast Asia region. NextFuels anticipates it will break ground on commercial-scale modules within two to three years.

To manage operations in Southeast Asia, NextFuels has opened an office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Milton Leong Eng Hai will manage NextFuels operation in the Southeast Asia region.

"Southeast Asia is the perfect place for us to start. Palm plantation owners, government regulators and others are struggling with ways to use or eliminate the residue that comes from palm oil production. Burning it is no longer an option," said Michael Petras, CEO of NextFuels and biofuel trading company Enagra. "Our technology turns that waste into a second, profitable crop that will provide cost-effective fuel and reduce air pollution."

NextFuels employs a technology called bio-liquefaction that efficiently transforms agricultural biomass to green energy. The underlying technology -- originally developed by Shell Oil -- will allow NextFuels and its partners to produce bio-based petroleum at commercial scale for $70 to $85 a barrel out of wet biomass.

NextFuels CEO Michael Petras will speak at the Asia Future Energy Forum & Exhibition in Singapore on 29-30 October 2013. He will discuss the haze issue, options for palm plantation and the bio-liquefaction technology and process.