Palm oil provides a real role in economic, social and environmental development in Indonesia. Starting from providing employment, foreign exchange earnings for the country, the use of critical land, a source of oxygen for life and absorb carbon from the air.
As Indonesia’s oil palm plantation’s growth accelerates with an area of 14.3 ha, the production and projections of the Indonesian palm oil industry that is promising. Indonesia as one of the biggest palm oil exporting countries certainly has fantastic palm oil production figures.
In the process of processing oil palm into various kinds of needs, it will definitely leave a residue known as palm oil waste. Yes, even oil palm in its processing can also produce waste. However, this waste from palm oil has the potential to be maximized if managed properly.
But unfortunately there are still many who do not know what the potential of palm oil waste and what the benefits are. Obviously there are so many that some of the waste from oil palm is often used for the purposes of plantations, livestock, even for renewable energy. It is time for us to switch to renewable energy sources.
Oil palm plantations produce oil palm biomass in the form of empty fruit bunches, oil palm fiber and shell, oil palm trunk and oil palm fronds. Foo-Yuen Ng, et al (2011) study results show that for each hectare of oil palm plantations can produce biomass of about 16 tons of dry matter per year. Increased palm oil production is also in line with the increased biomass production.
In addition to biomass, oil palm is also potential to produce biogas (bio methane) through the use of POME (palm oil mill waste). This biogas can reduce natural gas consumption. Oil palm biomass can also be processed into bioethanol (substitute for premium/gasoline). According to KL Energy Corporation (2007) each ton of dry biomass can produce 150 liters of ethanol. With this volume of ethanol production from oil palm biomass, isn’t Indonesian oil palm plantations an ethanol mine?
Indonesia needs a commitment to convert palm oil waste into high value-added energy. There needs to be support from various parties for further research and development on the technology.
Indonesia as the leading palm oil producer at this time should be able to optimize technology that can seek the potential of the palm oil waste. Especially if we look at the positive impact that can reduce environmental pollution and renewable energy producers.
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