The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Norwegian bio-mass energy technology to support Sri Lankan industry


The Sri Lanka-Norway Business Matchmaking Programme (BMMP) of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC), in a new development has taken the initiative of promoting the renewable energy sector in Sri Lanka and transferring the technology/technical expertise from Norway to Sri Lanka.

File pic: Ray Wijewardene at one of his projects.

The BMMP has a long-standing co-operation with Norway for close to 20 years, the CCC said this week. It said a Consultant from the Norwegian partners (Advance Business Partners) Bjorn Edwardson visited Sri Lanka in order to carry-out a survey on the country’s present renewable energy status, technology and future opportunities. The main objective of this visit was to gather information, match the needs of both countries and to organize a delegation of Norwegian companies to visit Sri Lanka by mid October.

“The Consultant met with few key companies like Lanka Transformers, who was the first Sri Lankan company to operate a dendro power plant with Ceylon Tobacco Company at Walapone and blue chip CIC who were very keen on having the state of the art technology to generate bio-mass energy. The consultant also visited two tea factories of the Watawala Plantations PLC who have been very keen on acquiring modern technologies to have more productive and efficient bio-mass energy generating systems for their tea drying operations. At a time when the cost of tea production is seriously threatening the survival of the industry they have taken the initiative to embark on a few fuel wood plantations in their estates,” the chamber said.

In July 1985, at a seminar organized by the Institution of Engineers of Sri Lanka, P.G. Joseph  presented the first ever proposal in Sri Lanka to generate a large share of the islands future electrical energy needs by cultivating biomass. Most members of the audience ridiculed this proposal for Dendro power as impracticable and outdated. The only supportive comment came from a foreign-looking man, whom he did not recognize or know at the time. He was Dr. Ray Wijewardene. He has been described as “an engineer, farmer, inventor, aviator and sportsman all rolled into one. Whether at work or play, he was an innovative thinker who rose above his culture and training to grasp the bigger picture.”

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