Palm Oil Sustainability: An Inconvenient Truth

Of late there has been much reporting in the media questioning the sustainability of Malaysian palm oil production turning it into the whipping boy of Europe and the US. This article analyses the chronological events leading up to this state of affairs to examine if the backlash is indeed unfair and if there is a way forward to get past this impasse.

Granted, we have much to thank the palm oil industry. It has contributed greatly to the nation’s GDP and reduced the poverty rate in Malaysia.

However, we often read that the success of the industry did not come without a price:

Today, we are so successful but we went through so many challenges. “Because of the success of our palm oil, countries that produce other vegetable oils attacked us …
“Because we are so competitive, that’s why they are always targeting palm oil …

Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, Minister, Plantation Industries and Commodities, Malaysia

As may be expected, the palm oil industry’s potential adverse impact on environment and climate change will strike anyone knowledgeable out there who is concerned about the fact that as palm oil production was being scaled up, simultaneously, rainforests were being displaced on a massive magnitude. Further, there are growing concerns about food safety among European and American households who as consumers have a heightened awareness about such issues.

When did the attacks start and why are they continuing?

Continue reading “Palm Oil Sustainability: An Inconvenient Truth”

The Air-Void, a ‘drop-in-place’ retrofit solution for air-free sterilisation

Inefficient air removal – the culprit.

horizontal-steriliser
Steam management and boiler operational issues at palm oil mills continue to remain problematic and have yet to be satisfactorily resolved. The root cause can be traced to the inefficient method of air removal at the steriliser station.

Inefficient usage of process steam arising from using outdated and inefficient methods to evacuate residual air in the steriliser vessels is the main cause of unrelenting problems at palm oil mills, particularly those affecting boiler operation – currently widespread at palm oil mills.

The Air-Void® has been created specifically to solve the above-mentioned problem. Continue reading “The Air-Void, a ‘drop-in-place’ retrofit solution for air-free sterilisation”

New Technological Innovation to Drive Efficiency, Creativity and Profitability at Palm Oil Mills

The Dream Mill

palm-oil-mill-engineer
Can life for palm oil mill Managers and Engineers be (ever) made ‘easy’? Actually, yes. With a solution that is both easy and simple. Just picture this… managers and engineers focusing on mill processes and production matters rather than tending to persistent mill utility issues, thereby enriching their daily working life and enhancing the core business of their company.

Today, technological innovation has given a boost to palm oil mill operations. New technologies are available to re-engineer the design of existing palm oil extraction processes to achieve the above. Continue reading “New Technological Innovation to Drive Efficiency, Creativity and Profitability at Palm Oil Mills”

Re-engineering palm oil mills into centres of energy efficiency

Palm oil mills can unleash renewable energy at enormously high energy efficiency levels arising from the unique characteristics of their operating parameters.

Palm oil mills are in an enviable position to harness increased quantities of renewable energy at very high efficiencies, the potential of which remains largely unrealised.

At the moment, palm oil mills tend to focus on milling operations. They are predominantly concerned with the core business revolving around the processing of fresh fruit bunches (FFB) and oil extraction rates. However, a new premise envisions mills operating as centres of energy efficiency.

The bulk of the FFB mass from the field transported to the mill for processing is discharged as biomass residue. Of this residue, the energy content of the mesocarp fibre and palm kernel shells are being used in inefficient ways to provide the energy needs of the mill. In actual fact, palm oil mills can unleash renewable energy at enormously high energy efficiency levels arising from the unique characteristics of their operating parameters. Continue reading “Re-engineering palm oil mills into centres of energy efficiency”

Re-ingeniería Molinos de Aceite de Palma en Centros de Eficiencia Energética

Molinos de aceite de palma pueden dar rienda suelta a las energías renovables en niveles altísimos de eficiencia energética derivados de las características únicas de sus parámetros de funcionamiento.

Molinos de aceite de palma están en una posición envidiable para aprovechar la energía renovable a muy altas eficiencias, el potencial de que sigue siendo en gran parte no realizada.

Molinos de aceite de palma en general, tienden a centrarse en las operaciones de fresado. Son predominantemente preocupado con la actividad principal gira en torno a la transformación de los Racimos de Fruta Fresca (RFF) y las tasas de extracción de aceite.  Sin embargo hay una nueva premisa de que prevé molinos para operar como centros de eficiencia energética.

Molinos de aceite de palma descargan grandes cantidades de biomasa, que es generalmente considerada como un producto de desecho. La mayor parte de la masa RFF desde el campo transportado al molino para el procesamiento se descarga como residuo de biomasa. Este residuo proporciona una rica fuente de abundante energía renovable si se las orienta a altas eficiencias. Sin embargo, en la actualidad la energía potencial inherente no es ni completamente apreciado ni explotada de una manera apropiada. Optimizar el aprovechamiento de la energía renovable reduce el dióxido de carbono (CO2) de la producción de aceite de palma, y de ahí su huella de carbono. Continue reading “Re-ingeniería Molinos de Aceite de Palma en Centros de Eficiencia Energética”

Merekayasa ulang Pabrik Kelapa Sawit Menjadi Pusat Efisiensi Energi

Pabrik Kelapa Sawit dapat menghasilkan energi terbarukan dengan tingkat efisiensi yang luar biasa besar timbul dari karakteristik unik dari parameter operasinya.

Pabrik kelapa sawit (PKS) berada pada posisi yang menguntungkan untuk memanfaatkan energi terbarukan dengan efisiensi yang sangat tinggi, potensi yang sebagian besar masih belum direalisasi.

PKS umumnya cenderung fokus pada operasi pengolahan. Pada umumnya perhatian mereka ada pada seputaran mengolah tandan buah segar (TBS) dan rendemen minyak. Namun ada kenyataan baru yang menyatakan bahwa pabrik kelapa sawit dapat beroperasi sebagai pusat efisiensi energi.

PKS menghasilkan sejumlah besar biomassa, yang umumnya dianggap sebagai limbah. Sebagian besar massa TBS yang diangkut dari lapangan diolah di PKS dihasilkan sebagai sisa produksi (biomassa).

Sisa ini mengandung sumber energi terbarukan yang melimpah jika dimanfaatkan dengan efisiensi tinggi. Namun, saat ini potensi energi yang ada pada biomass tersebut belum sepenuhnya dihargai atau dimanfaatkan dengan cara yang tepat. Pemanfaratan energi terbarukan secara optimal dapat mengurangi emisi karbon dioksida (CO2) produksi minyak kelapa sawit, dan juga jejak karbonnya. Continue reading “Merekayasa ulang Pabrik Kelapa Sawit Menjadi Pusat Efisiensi Energi”

Surprise blessings from Climate Change challenges – for the image of, and new opportunities for, the Palm Oil industry

The new blessings of climate change for the palm oil industry.

Climate change mitigation measures are bringing surprising new opportunities and benefits to the palm oil industry – strengthening the bottom line and nudging it towards a more positive image.

Although climate change supporters continue to highlight the shortcomings regarding practices of the palm oil industry this has not deterred the world demand for palm oil from growing. Ironically today it is the same “climate change” call, that has surprisingly turned the industry into a beacon of hope. Among a barrage of measures climate change is driving, one is for traditional fuels to be replaced, at least partially, by biofuels as a source of clean energy to reduce carbon emissions. And it is this growing world demand for biofuels that has today made the world realise that the palm oil industry is not all bad news. Nay, it may well hold an important key to combat global warming. Continue reading “Surprise blessings from Climate Change challenges – for the image of, and new opportunities for, the Palm Oil industry”