Palm kernel shells

Palm kernel shells (PKS) is a biomass fuel that is increasingly being co-fired by several European power producers and cement producers.

A close-up of a sample of palm kernel shellsPKS is a waste by-product of the palm oil industry; it is relevant abundant, it is classified as renewable waste-material, they are easy to ship, don't need to be densified and can be readily co-fired with coal in grate fired -and fluidized bed boilers as well as cement kilns in order to diversify your fuel mix.

Co-firing renewable biomass yields added value for power producers, because the fuel significantly reduces carbon emissions - this added value can be expressed in many forms: green electricity certificates, carbon credits, etc.

But, palm kernel shells are no longer merely interesting for its capacity to reduce carbon emissions, PKS has become a feasible alternative to coal on purely commercial grounds.

The demand for palm kernel shells (PKS) has gradually been growing the last several years, mainly stemming from Southeast Asia and increasingly from Europe for alternative and renewable power generating.

A stockpile of palm kernel shellsSince the start of The Kyoto Protocol, most Western European governments promised to decrease the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) in their countries. Ever since then, the required reduction percentages have increased in such a way that experts wonder how this could be achieved in the time-span governments have imposed on themselves.

Electricity from solid biomass is expected to play a vital role in achieving the 20% share of renewable energy in the EU by 2020.

Despite the huge growth potential, the industry is not without its own set of challenges, key amongst them feedstock supply. The success depends, to a large degree, on the quantity and quality of biomass available, and on the industry's ability to cost-effectively transport, handle and utilize biomass for energy production.
  
Alternative energy recourses such as sun, wind, tidal energy are (still) too expensive, because of the relatively cheap fossil fuels and the worldwide existence of conventional fossil fuel fired Power Stations. 

Most of these Power Stations are modern pulverized coal combustion (PCC) installations, coal fired or multi-fuel fired (coal, gas or oil). Generally, these coal fired energy production systems have been equipped with auxiliaries to co-fire biomass fuels.

The CO2 emitted by producing energy out of biomass is considered "CO2 neutral", because the use of biomass avoids the use of the fossil coal. The amount of CO2 emitted equals the amount of CO2 taken up during the growing of the biomass source and CO2 emission is therefore neutral.
 
Loading activitiesHowever to achieve the planned CO2 emission reduction in Europe there is not sufficient biomass available in Europe and biomass is imported from all over the world. To avoid misusing biomass commodities for the energy trade or the clearing of forest grounds for biomass plantations, users of biomass in Europe need to have proof of the sustainability of the biomass fuel.

Greenpeace considers palm kernel shells (PKS), along with empty fruit bunches (EFB) and palm oil mill effluent (POME) a true waste arising from the palm oil industry:

http://www.greenpeace.org/raw/content/new-zealand/press/reports/palm-kernel-briefing.pdf
 
PKS has a property that makes it unsuitable to use in pulverized coal combustion (PCC) installations, because the energy required to grind the shells into powder (the same size as the coal) is too high and therefore too costly.

In "grate fired boiler systems", "fluidized bed boiler systems" and cement kilns, palm kernel shells are an excellent fuel. In countries operating such boiler systems, the market to trade palm kernel shells is wide open.

The palm kernel shells we are able to supply mostly stem from palm mills on the islands of Kalimantan and Sumatra, Indonesia.

Transportation of palm kernel shells from stockpile to loading portGlobal Fuel Trading has developed solid relations with both palm mills and a network of local traders and suppliers who have been carefully selected based on their proven track record, their extensive experience and strategic locations based on existing infrastructure and manageable logistics to several loading ports in Sumatra and Kalimantan, Indonesia.

We have developed a well coordinated purchasing strategy, making it possible to supply up to 20,000 MT of palm kernel shells on a bimonthly basis in bulk.

Our integrated supply chain consists of sourcing directly at the palm mills, local transport, stockpiling, intensive survey of loading operations, risk management and when applicable ocean transport from port of shipment in Indonesia to port of discharge.

The palm kernel shells we supply stem from running operations and are therefor only stockpiled for a minimal duration. Our clients can be reassured of a guaranteed supply and ensured of the highest levels of contracted specifications.

Go back