SMC converting coal power plants to biomass

Danessa Rivera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Diversified San Miguel Corp. (SMC) is converting all of its coal-fired facilities into biomass power plants using rice husks as feedstock as part of its bold move to transition to renewable and sustainable energy generation.

SMC’s energy unit is planning to replace coal with rice husks as fuel for its circulating fluidized bed (CFB) power plants to help boost farmers’ income while pursuing plans to use cleaner technology and reduce emissions.

“Instead of burning or dumping rice husks, we want to fully utilize this agricultural waste product both as energy source for our power plants and income source for our rice farmers,” SMC president and COO Ramon Ang said.

“This way, we reduce our emission further, encourage more farmers to increase rice production, make their lives better and help address a perennial food security challenge,” he said.

Power subsidiary SMC Global Power Holdings Inc. operates two new clean coal power facilities in Limay, Bataan and in Malita, Davao, with capacities of 600 megawatts (MW) and 300 MW, respectively.

These facilities utilize the CFB combustion technology, which is among the world’s most advanced pollution-mitigating technologies for power plants, yielding significantly lower emissions.

The emissions of these power plants are way below the limits set by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and even the standards set by the World Bank.

However, SMC said emissions from rice-husk based fuel are expected be even lower.

 “If we encourage more farmers to plant rice by providing them additional sources of income, our rice sufficiency and food security improves. At the same time, we use palay husks to generate more environment-friendly energy,” Ang said.



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