Kirk Environmental - KIRK GROUP

Bintulu ad plant now complete

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Courtesy of Kirk Environmental - KIRK GROUP

BIODOME® ASIA, part of KIRK GROUP, has recently completed a state-of-the-art anaerobic digestion plant in East Malaysia for our client Kubota Corporation, consisting of the largest digester tank ever built by KIRK to date which has a capacity in excess of 10,000m³.

THE PROJECT

The biogas plant will be owned by BBC Biogas Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of BBC Holdings Sdn Bhd, based in Bintulu. BIODOME® ASIA have designed, supplied and constructed a 10,000m³ glass-fused-to-steel digester tank complete with a BIODOME® Double Membrane Gas Holder Roof and a smaller 1,800m³ digester tank with a BIODOME® Single Membrane Roof.

Generally palm oil mills treat the effluent discharged from plants manufacturing palm oil, an important export for Malaysia and Indonesia, in open lagoons. The diffusion into the atmosphere of global warming gas and water quality pollution has become a significant problem. In recent years consumers of palm oil have strongly demanded environmental conservation and the Malaysian government has strengthened its water quality regulations for palm oil effluent, resulting in mills needing to take prompt measures.

The installation of digester tanks complete with BIODOME® roofs will make sure the biogas produced during the anaerobic digestion process is captured in the roofs and held there until ready to be released as renewable energy, significantly reducing the footprints released in the atmosphere.

The RM13 million plant has been built alongside a new palm oil mill which will be the first in the world to adopt membrane technology in palm oil milling. Kubota Corporation were chosen by BBC Biogas Sdn Bhd to design and construct the anaerobic membrane bioreactor system which integrates two processes to extract biogas from POME and treat wastewater to comply with the strict requirements of the Department of Environment (DOE) and Sarawak Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB). This technology is capable of producing much more biogas from empty fruit bunches for use as renewable energy and is more efficient in the treatment of POME.

The plant has a daily capacity of 936 tonnes based oil mill effluent and the biogas produced will be used to operate a brick factory to be built by BBC Holdings Sdn Bhd next to the plant, making the factory self-sufficient.

THE BENEFITS

BIODOME® ASIA have now been building digesters for biogas plants in the region for over four years, mainly with integrated systems such as the Bintulu AD Plant, where our industry-leading BIODOME® Roofs have been mounted on top of the digester tanks to reduce project costs, minimising footprints and eliminating the need to install a fixed steel roof. The construction of an integrated system is significantly quicker compared to adding a ground mounted BIODOME® Gas Holder to an AD Plant, resulting in less time being spent on site and therefore further reducing operational costs.

For this project BIODOME® ASIA pushed the boundaries by designing and constructing their first ever BIODOME® Single Membrane Roof: this was possible thanks to a carefully thought out project process during the initial stages where it was possible to understand that the plant would work efficiently with a single membrane roof on top of the smaller digester tank, bringing down the overall project costs.

The glass-fused-to-steel tanks are increasing in popularity in the Malaysian region due to their corrosion resistant properties. The glass coating prevents corrosion effluent and compounds in the biogas to affect the steel, which usually would weaken the structure and result in maintenance and replacement required after only a few years. Furthermore, our digester tanks are bolted together, eliminating the need for welding and increasing safety on site during construction by reducing the risk of explosion. A bolted tank can be built at ground level, with site labour working in much safer conditions and construction to be completed in a much shorter time scale.

“The implementation of the project is a great testament to the recent progress made by both BIODOME® ASIA and the local market in adopting the above ground digester tanks complete with methane capture”, comments Matthew Dickinson, Operations Director at BIODOME® ASIA.

“Working closely with Kubota Corporation we have been able to install our largest combined glass-fused-to-steel tank and double membrane gas holder solution in our history, this again is a great achievement for the growing business in South East Asia and we look forward to our next challenge”.

THE PRODUCTS

KIRK’s glass-fused-to-steel tanks have been in use for decades, providing excellent service and design life with the minimum of maintenance. This is the only tank finish where two materials are fused together to achieve the best of both: the strength and flexibility of the steel combined with the corrosion resistance of the glass. The high temperature fusion of glass to steel fired at 850°C results in an inert, durable finish. Applied to both interior and exterior, the GFS technology is able to withstand the rigours of the construction site and provide many years of trouble free service in harsh environments. A GFS tank solution can be easily extended, dismantled and re-located to meet clients and projects requirements.

The award-winning BIODOME® Double Membrane Gas holder can be used in the wastewater, agricultural and municipal biogas markets throughout the world. The state-of-the-art design utilises the highest strength membrane available in the global market, making it suitable for a wide range of working gas pressures, storage volumes and gas production rates, accommodating the requirements of any sewerage, wastewater treatment, industrial effluent and biogas plant. It can be supplied as an independent free-standing unit or installed to provide biogas storage mounted to the top of a steel or concrete AD tank. The high strength of the membrane, together with market-leading design and manufacturing facilities allows KIRK to design and construction the BIODOME® Gas Holder in standard sizes up to 20,000m³, surpassing any other system available.

CUSTOMER FEEDBACK

This project has allowed BIODOME® ASIA to further strengthen their market position in Asia for palm oil mill effluent (POME) biogas projects. Kubota Corporation is one of the largest Japanese companies on their foray in renewable energy projects in the region. Following the completion of the Bintulu AD Plant, BIODOME® ASIA has been awarded a further five biogas projects with the client in the Indonesian region.

The efforts in place to treat the palm oil effluents from the mill will help safeguard the quality of Sarawak’s river water by discharging higher standard effluent: the lower biological oxygen demand effluent discharged will reduce the stress of the natural water body.
The systems in place provided by BIODOME® ASIA and Kubota Corporation are a positive step of widening the environmental friendly alternatives use of palm oil effluent to produce renewable energy.

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