Availability Of Palm Oil Biomass Wastes Biology Essay

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Palm oil wastes are the main biomass resources in ASEAN countries. Malaysia is the world's second largest palm oil producer and largest exporter. It is stated that until June 2009, there had been 406 palm oil mills in Malaysia with a total capacity of 92.78 million tones of FFB per annum. TAN, H. T., LEE, K. T. & MOHAMED

In Malaysia and Indonesia, which is being the two main largest palm oil producing countries in the world, there were about 30 M ton and 8.2 M ton of palm oil wastes (empty fruit bunch (EFB), fiber, pail oil shell) generated respectively in year 2000 and to cater for the rapidly expanding of food and manufacturing industries. Table 1 (below) shows the proximate and ultimate analyses of palm oil shell, fiber and EFB based on Yang, H, et al 2006 analysis.

YANG, H., et al. 2006

Table 2 below show the biomass components, their quantity available in (million tones), their calories values (kJ/kg) and potential exergy generated.

(Table 2)SHUIT, S. H., TAN, K. T., LEE, K. T. & KAMARUDDIN, A. H. 2009

In general, the processing of FFB in palm oil mills also generates other biomass residues such as palm kernel, fiber and shell. FFB comprises 21% of palm oil, 7% of palm kernel, fiber, shell and 23% of EFB. TAN, H. T., LEE, K. T. & MOHAMED

As mentioned above, the Empty fruit bunch EBF, Palm oil mill effluent (POME), Palm kernel shell (PKS), fiber and shell will be highlighting and emphasise as part of the availability of palm oil biomass wastes.

(i) Empty fruit bunch EBF


Picture 1 : Empty Fruit Bunch (EFB)

Empty fruit bunch is the major component of all solid wastes. Large quantities of EFB are available from processing the fresh fruit bunch (FFB) in palm oil mills. EFB's are the residual bunch followed by removal of fruits from FFB in a thresher.

Based on Table 1 above, generally from EFB has lower heating value of 18.96 MJ/kg. On dry solid basis, it contains 18.1 wt % of lignin, 59.7wt % cellulose and 22.1wt % hemicellulose. Moreover, the ultimate analysis of EFB indicated the content of carbon to be 48.79%, hydrogen 7.33%, sulfur 0.68%, and oxygen 36.30%.


From oil palm biomass, EFB found to be used to produce steam for processing activities and for generating electricity. However, a few countermeasures has to be taken into consideration before the direct usage of EFB, among those are reducing the size of the EFB using shedding machines, and dying the EFB as it contains moisture as shown in table 1 which is about 8.75 wt % which is relatively higher compared to all three (3) biomass waste. Hence EFB is used in agricultural activities such for vegetative growth as it helps to retain moisture and returns organic matter to the soil and found to be a very good fertilizer / soil conditioner.

However, due to the "white smoke" problem, from incineration of EFB to be used as ash for agricultural purpose, the activity of incineration is discouraged. The "white smoke" is mainly contributed from the presence of high moisture content of the EFB. YUSOFF, S. 2006

(ii) Palm oil mill effluent (POME)

Palm oil mill effluent is also another palm oil biomass waste and also the major source of wastewater generation from palm oil mill is namely sterilizer condensate, hydrocyclone waste, and separator sludge. The POME is found to be rich in organic carbon with a biochemical oxygen demand value higher than 20 g/L and nitrogen content around 0.2 and 0.5 g/L as ammonia nitrogen and total nitrogen. SUMATHI, S., CHAI, S. P. & MOHAMED, A. R. 2008

Palm oil mill effluent is also converted into fertilizers and used for agricultural purposes. Table 3 below shows the characteristics of palm oil mill which can be used to produce bio-gas through anaerobic treating system in which the methane is extracted as a source of energy. SUMATHI, S., CHAI, S. P. & MOHAMED, A. R. 2008

Table 3 :- Characteristics of palm oil mill

(iii) Palm Kernel Cake (PKC), shell and fiber.

Palm Kernel is obtained from palm fruitlet after the removal of mesocarp and shell. It can be divided into two (2) categories which are Palm Kernel Cake and Palm Kernel Shell (PKS)

Palm Kernel Cake (PKC)

Palm kernel cake is a by-product from the kernel extraction process. It is used as a raw material for animal feed, especially for cattle feed. It has a higher energy content amounting about 18900 kJ/kg with less moisure about 3% content as shown in Table 4.

Table 4 : Types and amount of biomass

The Use of Palm Oil As Biofuel and Biodiesel

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Picture 2 : Palm Kernel Picture 2 : Palm Kernel Cake (PKC)

The PKC is obtained from two (2) stages of oil extraction from the palm fruit. The primary stage is done by extraction of palm oil from the pericarp portion of the fruit from the crushed kernel. The extraction of oil from the crushed kernel then results in the production of PKC as by-product which comprises of conventional mechanical screwpress method and solvent extraction method that results id the solvent extracted type. Palm Kernel Cake (PKC) as a Supplement for

Fattening and Dairy Cattle in Malaysia

Palm Kernel Shell (PKS)

PKS is an energy intensive substance and most difficult waste to decompose. Palm kernel shell is the waste kernel shell from Crude Palm Oil (CPO) processing. The moisture content is found to be 15 - 20% max, with a higher heating value of 4,900 (Kcal/kg) and lower heating value of 4,480(Kcal/kg). Hence it is used for biomass fuel production as a replacement for fossil fuel. PALM & PALM OIL PRODUCTS

Due to the characteristic of PKS with high heating value compared to other bio mass fuels and in terms of recycled waste matter as fuel, PKS is used widely used as fuels to generate heat for boilers or furnace in industries such as in the manufacturing plant, factories, etc.

At present, there are 110,550 tons of PKS available annually. With the heating value of palm kernel shell about 17.4MJ/kg, it is widely used mainly in power generation industries due to high demand from population growth. PRASERTSAN, S. & PRASERTSAN, P. 1996.

Based on the statement above, it shows that PKS along with the other palm oil based biomass, being a renewable biomass has great application potential in many industries as highlighted above. Numerous R&D have been carried out to develop different applications of palm based biomass by Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), SIRIM, Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) and other private companies.



Picture 4 : Fiber

Oil palm fiber is non-hazardous biodegradable material extracted from oil palm's empty fruit bunch (EFB) through decortation process. The oil palm fiber is light and can absorb a lot of water without congealing. It has the capabilities of withstanding extreme temperatures and moisture conditions.

In terms of the availability of oil palm fiber, Malaysia produces 50 % of the world's palm oil and has 3 million hectares of the trees under cultivation. Oil Palm Fiber based on table 2, it shows that there are about 9.6 million tones produced just for the oil palm fibers.

Based on table 4, fibers moisture content is about 37 % with calories value of 19,068 kJ/kg, which fibers can also be used as fuels. Addition to that, EFB fibers can also be used for cushion filling material by adding binding agent such as later latex. PRASERTSAN, S. & PRASERTSAN, P. 1996.

The oil palm fibers are also used by manufacturer to make various fiber composite such furniture, infrastructures, mattress, erosion control and also landscaping.