Al Salam Bank enters HK biodiesel project deal
Manama, February 27, 2008
Al Salam Bank-Bahrain (ASBB) has signed a major deal with six global partners to invest in a pioneering alternative energy project in Hong Kong.
Yousif Taqi, the bank's chief executive officer, said ASB Biodiesel (Hong Kong) Limited (the Joint Venture Company) will build and own a new plant which produces biodiesel using mainly waste products.
The plant will be located in the Tseung Kwan O industrial area of Hong Kong. The 100,000 metric tonnes per year facility will be the first of its kind in Asia and will aim to sell biodiesel – which effectively substitutes regular fossil diesel - both locally and to European markets, he said.
Traditionally, the production process of biodiesel reforms any variety of vegetable oils such as rapeseed, corn, and soybean oils into a single specified automotive fuel accepted by all diesel engines. However, in using virgin vegetable oils, this process has the disadvantage of competing with human consumption and cooking oil needs. There is also growing concern that demand for biodiesel from virgin oils such as palm oil may lead to destruction of tropical rainforests.
Taqi pointed out that what sets the venutre apart from traditional biodiesel producers, and further emphasises ASBB’s environment-friendly approach, is that the new plant will utilise waste products including: used cooking oil, waste animal fat and grease trap waste (restaurant sewage) as some of the major feedstock components for biodiesel production.
He clarified that there is a three-pronged environmental benefit; reducing harmful vehicle emissions and global warming through the usage of biodiesel, productive use of materials which often go to a landfill (thus reducing landfill needs) and preservation of virgin vegetable oils for human consumption, thus addressing the issue of rainforest destruction and escalating food prices.
Taqi said: “This is an innovative investment. It illustrates our bank’s strategy to meet clients’ expectations for attractive investment opportunities that are differentiated by sector and geography, and to ensure competitive returns to our shareholders. It also underlines our commitment to identify projects that have the potential to add value to the community and positively impact the environment.”
The project cost and Al Salam's investment details have not been provided. A spokesperson for the bank said more details will be released in a week's time. - TradeArabia News Service