Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 2

Search results for: Soh Kheang Loh

2 Potential of Palm Oil Mill Effluent in Algae Cultivation for Biodiesel Production

Authors: Nur Azreena Idris, Soh Kheang Loh, Harrison Lau Lik Nang, Yuen May Choo, Eminour Muzalina Mustafa, Vijaysri Vello, Cheng Yau Tan, Siew Moi Phang


It is estimated that about 0.65-0.67 m3 of palm oil mill effluent (POME) is generated when one tonne of fresh fruit bunches is processed. Owning to the high content of nutrients in POME, it has high potential as a medium for microalgae growth. This study attempted determining the growth rate, biomass productivity and biochemical composition of microalgae (Chlorella sp.) grown in different POME concentrations i.e. 6.25%, 12.5%, 25% and 50% at outdoor conditions using a 200-mL capacity high rate algae pond (HRAP) and 2 closed photobioreactors (PBRs) i.e. annular and flat panel. The strain, Chlorella sp. grown on 12.5% of POME in flat panel PBR exhibited the highest specific growth rate of 0.32/day and biomass productivity (27.1 mg/L/day) followed by those in HRAP and annular PBR. It further showed that a good growth of Chlorella sp. in 12.5% of POME could sufficiently reduce the nutrients of POME such as phosphate (PO4), nitrate (NO3), nitrite (NO2) and chemical oxygen demand (COD). The extracted algal oil from POME culture showed that the saturated fatty acids decreased while polyunsaturated fatty acids increased compared to those cultured in standard culture medium (Bold’s Basal medium). The biochemical compositions of the algae grown in flat panel PBR were the highest with lipid, protein and carbohydrate productivity of 17.91 mg/L/day, 34.65 mg/L/day and 21.44 mg/L/day, respectively. The microalgae cultivation in diluted POME had not only shown potential as biodiesel feedstock based on the fatty acids profile but also the ability to reduce pollutants e.g. PO4, NO3, NO2 and COD in biological wastewater treatment.

Keywords: wastewater treatment, photobioreactors, biomass productivity, specific growth rate

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1 Water Footprint for the Palm Oil Industry in Malaysia

Authors: Vijaya Subramaniam, Loh Soh Kheang, Astimar Abdul Aziz


Water footprint (WFP) has gained importance due to the increase in water scarcity in the world. This study analyses the WFP for an agriculture sector, i.e., the oil palm supply chain, which produces oil palm fresh fruit bunch (FFB), crude palm oil, palm kernel, and crude palm kernel oil. The water accounting and vulnerability evaluation (WAVE) method was used. This method analyses the water depletion index (WDI) based on the local blue water scarcity. The main contribution towards the WFP at the plantation was the production of FFB from the crop itself at 0.23m³/tonne FFB. At the mill, the burden shifts to the water added during the process, which consists of the boiler and process water, which accounted for 6.91m³/tonne crude palm oil. There was a 33% reduction in the WFP when there was no dilution or water addition after the screw press at the mill. When allocation was performed, the WFP reduced by 42% as the burden was shared with the palm kernel and palm kernel shell. At the kernel crushing plant (KCP), the main contributor towards the WFP 4.96 m³/tonne crude palm kernel oil which came from the palm kernel which carried the burden from upstream followed by electricity, 0.33 m³/tonne crude palm kernel oil used for the process and 0.08 m³/tonne crude palm kernel oil for transportation of the palm kernel. A comparison was carried out for mills with biogas capture versus no biogas capture, and the WFP had no difference for both scenarios. The comparison when the KCPs operate in the proximity of mills as compared to those operating in the proximity of ports only gave a reduction of 6% for the WFP. Both these scenarios showed no difference and insignificant difference, which differed from previous life cycle assessment studies on the carbon footprint, which showed significant differences. This shows that findings change when only certain impact categories are focused on. It can be concluded that the impact from the water used by the oil palm tree is low due to the practice of no irrigation at the plantations and the high availability of water from rainfall in Malaysia. This reiterates the importance of planting oil palm trees in regions with high rainfall all year long, like the tropics. The milling stage had the most significant impact on the WFP. Mills should avoid dilution to reduce this impact.

Keywords: life cycle assessment, water footprint, crude palm oil, crude palm kernel oil, WAVE method

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