July 17, 2012, Siem Reap, Cambodia - GE announced the SOMA Group, a leading Cambodian industrial conglomerate, has selected GE's Waukesha gas engine technology to power a new rural, rice husk biomass-energy project.
The project is Cambodia's first integrated biomass gasification-gas engine solution designed to supply renewable electricity to the local grid in support of the country's rural electrification goals.
GE and the Soma Group signed their gas engine supply contract during a U.S.-ASEAN Business Council (USABC) and U.S. Chamber of Commerce-sponsored forum in the city of Siem Reap in northwestern Cambodia. Francisco J. Sanchez, U.S. undersecretary of commerce for international trade, Robert D. 'Bob' Hormats, U.S. undersecretary of state for economic, business and agricultural affairs, and His Excellency Sat Samy, secretary of state of the Cambodian Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy (MIME), witnessed the contract signing ceremony.
Located in the country's rural rice milling region of Kamphong Cham, the SOMA Group's Hak Se mill biomass gasification project is also the first to be implemented after GE and the Cambodian government signed a 2011 alternative energy development agreement to identify opportunities to use GE's distributed power, smart grid and other solutions to meet the country's energy challenges.
Ankur Scientific Energy Technologies Pvt. Ltd, a global technology leader in renewable energy technologies based in India, is developing the new Cambodia biomass gasification facility for project owner Soma Energy Ltd. The rice husk will be converted into biogas, which then will be used in two GE VHP 5904 Waukesha engines to generate a total of a 1.5 megawatt (MW) of renewable electricity.
Part of the power will support the rice mill's operations while surplus electricity will be sold to the local grid, providing an economical power supply and improving the living standards of people in the area.
The new power plant is expected to begin commercial service in March 2013.