Reduction in Resource Use and GHG Emissions by Utilising the Biomass Wastes in the Malaysian Oil Palm Industry
Vijaya Subramaniam, Zulkifli Hashim
Malaysian Palm Oil Board, Malaysia
Malaysia is the second largest oil palm producer in the world with an oil palm planted area of over 5.64 million hectares. This agricultural industry churns out huge amounts of biomass wastes. Just in the year 2016 there were 19.9 million tonnes of empty fruit bunch (EFB), 12.12 million tonnes of pressed mesocarp fibre (PMF), 6.06 million tonnes of palm kernel shell (PKS) and 56.3 million tonnes of palm oil mill effluent (POME). This study evaluated the various utilization practices of these wastes to reduce the use of resources which indirectly decreased the GHG emissions. The life cycle assessment has been used to conduct this study and the system boundary covers the oil palm nursery- plantation- palm oil mill (POM). At the POM, the PMF and PKS are used as fuel in the biomass boiler to generate electricity. This displaced 2.5 kWh/kg PMF and 3.6 kWh/ kg PKS of fossil energy giving a reduction of 1.5 kg CO2eq /kg PMF and 2.0 kg CO2eq /kg PKS. EFB used for mulching as fertilizer substitute displaced 3kg of Urea, 0.4 kg of Rock Phosphate and 12 kg of Muriate of potash per tonne EFB which gave a GHG savings of 3.3kg CO2eq/ tEFB. When EFB was used as fuel it displaced 2.0 kWh/ kg EFB electricity with GHG savings of 1.2 kg CO2eq /tEFB. The biogas which is emitted during the anaerobic treatment of POME was captured and utilized as energy displaced 2.7 kWh/m3 biogas of non- renewable energy. Under the Economic Transformation Programme launched by the Government of Malaysia in 2011, envisages that all POMs in Malaysia should capture or avoid biogas brining about a GHG savings of 9kg CO2eq/m3 biogas. This initiative will displace huge amounts of non-renewable energy and resources in the country.