Utilizing Palm oil main waste empty bunches as renewable energy

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Illustration by Feri Fenoria

UNAIR NEWS – Palm oil is known to play a role in economic, social and environmental development in Indonesia. In the process of processing palm oil itself, there will be palm oil waste. One of the main residues from oil palm is “Empty Palm Fruit Bunches” which are solid waste which has a mass of 21% of the total mass of fruit palm oil. Generally, it only becomes waste or subsequently used as organic fertilizer in oil palm plantations.

Intan Ayu Pratiwi, Lecturer in Biology at Faculty of Science and Technology (FST) UNAIR said the composition of empty palm fruit bunches have high mineral content such as Ca, Fe, Na, K, and P. High ash content in the biomass of empty oil palm fruit bunches can cause secondary reactions in the thermochemical process.

Thermochemistry is the study of chemical reactions and the changes in the energy involved. The results in the empty fruit bunches being less attractive in their use as fuel because its use requires high technology as fuel from the boiler.

“Based on statistical data, the potential of empty fruit bunches of biomass from 2013 to 2015 are 126.63 GW, 133.45 GW and 141.62 GW, respectively. These results indicate the great potential possessed as boiler fuel. Studies on heavy metals have also been carried out because this is related to the effect of burning on the kettle, “she said.

Palm oil production had other benefits for electricity generation from empty fruit bunches. Thus, waste products from palm oil mills can be potential.

The characteristics of empty oil palm fruit bunches have good heat production potential in terms of the presence of fiber or shell as boiler fuel. Apart from the calorific value shown by empty oil palm fruit bunches, it is almost the same as fiber for some waste conditions. However, the impact that occurs during combustion for boilers is quite potential. Empty palm fruit bunches can be used as boiler fuel because of the relatively large availability in Indonesia with a higher calorie-burning value.

“Another problem that needs to be studied is the composition of the alkali metal which creates a bad combustion effect such as ash deposition resulting from burning empty fruit bunches,” he concluded.

Author: Tunjung Senja Widuri

Editor: Khefti Al Mawalia

Link: http://www.envirobiotechjournals.com/article_abstract.php?aid=9478&iid=271&jid=3

Intan Ayu Pratiwi and Helmi Dadang Ardiansyah. 2019. A Study of EFB (Empty Fruit Bunch) for Fuel of Indonesian Biomass Boiler. Ecology, Environment and Conservation Paper Vol 25, April Suppl. Issue, Page No.(86-89).

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