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Treating Palm Waste -Palm Arcid Oil -MIKO

Palm oil exports from Indonesia to Europe have recently been rejected because industrial waste pollutes the environment. It encourages efficiency and utilization of its waste.

According to the 2017 Directorate of Plantations, oil palm land in Indonesia reached 14.03 million hectares. From that area, 37.8 million tons of crude palm oil (CPO) were produced . The number will be increased to 40 million tons by 2020 through land expansion and intensification. Now, Indonesia’s CPO production far exceeds Malaysia’s, which is around 21 million tons.

As the world’s main producer and exporter of CPO, Indonesia is disturbed by the rejection of its products in Europe. Palm oil mills (PKS) in Indonesia, which amount to more than 608 factories (2011 data) are considered not to process CPO properly so that their waste pollutes the environment.

Palm oil mill waste, especially liquid waste called palm oil mill effluent (POME), harms the environment. According to research by Ade Sri Rahayu and his team from Winrock International, POME decomposes into biogas in an airtight condition. This biogas consists of 75 percent methane gas and 25 percent carbon dioxide. These greenhouse gases contribute to global warming if allowed to be emitted.

Therefore, the waste needs to be used as biogas for power generation. Each tonne of fresh fruit bunches (FFB) yields 0.7 cubic meters of POME. Of the 21 cubic meters of POME per hour of potential power generation, 1.1 megawatts is equivalent. Of PKS in Indonesia produced 34 280 tonnes of FFB per hour or 23 996 m 3 per hour has the potential to generate 1,280 MW of electrical power equivalent. The problem is, PKS is constrained by funding to build a power plant.


Because methane is a greenhouse gas, the use of POME biogas is one of the requirements for mills to obtain ISPO and RSPO sustainability certificates.


POME waste attracted the attention of researchers from Tanjungpura University (Untan), West Kalimantan. According to the Director General of Strengthening Innovation at the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education, Jumain Appe, a pilot plant by researchers at Untan for POME in West Kalimantan to produce biodiesel will be initiated.

In Indonesia, the amount of POME 2 million tons per year can be converted into biodiesel. So, it is necessary to build 6 factories each with a capacity of 270 tons per day or 100,000 tons per year.

Other uses for biochemical research include cosmetic ingredients and lubricants. The research will be conducted at the Untan Oil Palm Research Center for Excellence. “This will be discussed by the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education, which is funding the research with the Ministry of SOEs for downstreaming,” he said.

The program begins with a feasibility study in July-September. Details of the design for the following three months. Construction of the factory will begin in early 2019 with an investment cost of around Rp 500 billion from South Korea.

The construction of biodiesel and biochemical plants involves a consortium of companies from South Korea and Indonesia, namely LG, Hyundai, and Industrial Engineering. “The products will be exported to South Korea,” he said.

Factory efficiency

Utilization of POME into biodiesel is not new. Researcher from the BPPT Agroindustrial Technology Center, Agus Kismanto, revealed that a pilot biodiesel plant with a scale of 8 tons per day had been built in Riau and operated from 2003 to 2006. To produce biodiesel taken or palm fatty acid or palm acid oil (PAO) 5 percent of the volume of POME. This small-scale factory has complied with the Indonesian National Standard.

Meanwhile, the research team at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences’ Center for Biotechnology Research (Puslit Biotek LIPI) developed a process technology utilizing POME to produce biodiesel based on biotechnology and chemical engineering. Palm acid oil in POME is converted by enzymatic catalyst reaction into biodiesel. The catalyst consists of a consortium of lipase enzymes from local microbes. “The trial implementation was carried out by LIPI together with PT Agricinal in Bengkulu,” said Yopi Sunarya, a researcher from the LIPI Research Center for Biotechnology.

According to Tatang Soerawidjaja from the Faculty of Chemical Engineering, Bandung Institute of Technology, with the decreasing potential for POME, the world’s attention is directed to OPEFB, namely utilizing lignocellulosic EFB as biohydrocarbon fuel such as biofuel and bioavtur.

Meanwhile, Agus Kismanto studied the technology for making fuel oil from biomass to reduce conversion costs, called Katalytich Drucklose Verolung (KDV), namely depolymerization with a catalyst under vacuum conditions. The technology was first developed by Christian Koch from Germany.

The reaction is only at a temperature of 250 degrees Celsius. The catalyst is present in coal, in components of Ca, Al and Si. The conversion is 3 minutes and after vacuum distillation, high-quality fuel is immediately obtained. The production process is economical because of low investment costs and no need for hydrogen.

The calorific value and viscosity of KDV oil are close to the European standard for diesel EN590. Compared to SNI Solar-48, the sulfur content is better. Compared to biodiesel, the oxygen content of KDV diesel oil is lower so that the quality does not decrease when stored.

From the results of observations with measurements on the Gas Chromatograph at the Biodiesel Laboratory of BTBRD-BPPT, the processed diesel oil contains kerosene and gasoline fractions. So, KDV oil can be fractionated.

A key part of the KDV process is the mixing turbine to mix 90 percent of the biomass with 10 percent of coal and 1 percent of lime. Stirring with the turbine for 3 minutes produces heat due to friction of the turbine blades with fluids and solids.

Stirring with a mixing turbine at 250 degrees celsius occurs depolymerization of the biomass. The biomass is evaporated under vacuum and condensed to produce KDV oil and water. The rest is transferred to a final heater at a temperature of 500 degrees Celsius to take the remaining oil and then the solid is removed and shaped like asphalt.

KDV mills can be filled with palm oil mills by utilizing empty midrib and fruit bunches. Besides products from KDV are cheaper than conventional oil, the raw materials are renewable and abundant in Indonesia.


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