South Korea to produce wood pellet fuel in Indonesia

March 8th, 2009 - 4:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Seoul, March 8 (IANS) South Korea has signed an agreement with Indonesia to produce wood pellets that are cheaper and cleaner to burn than fossil fuels, WAM reported.
Korea forest service and Indonesian forest ministry signed a pact Friday to keep aside 200,000 hectares of forestland in Indonesia’s Kalimantan Island to produce wood pellets starting 2010, the report said Saturday.

The Daejeon-based state forestry service said the deal signed on the sidelines of President Lee Myung-bak’s visit to Indonesia gives the South Korean government a free 99-year lease on the Kalimantan Island to implement the project.

The initiative will benefit Indonesia with foreign investments and new jobs.

South Korea would provide administrative support, build pellet-making facilities and assist in the everyday operations to be carried out by the private companies, according to the pact.

The total fuel production would be determined only after assessing the useable plants on the Island. The process involves both cutting and planting trees, the report said.

Wood pellets are made from finely ground and compressed wood that is cheap to use, have relatively good fuel qualities and do not release as much greenhouse gas as refined fuel products.

The cylinder-shaped pellets on average have lower heat value than diesel fuel, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and kerosene, but could provide a 99-sq-meter living space with adequate heat for 1.8 million won ($1,160) per year.

This is better than the 4.2 million won needed when burning diesel, 2.0 million won for LNG and 3.0 million won for kerosene. The pellets have also been found to produce 12 times less greenhouse gases than diesel fuel.

At present, South Korea’s wood pellet consumption is small and generally limited to use in some rural communities and greenhouses. It has only one operational wood pellet facility, with two more to be opened this year.

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