Processing of Palm Oil Mill Wastes Based on Zero Waste Technology
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Indonesia is currently the main producer of palm oil in the world with a total production reached 33.5 million tons per year. In the processing of fresh fruit bunches (FFB) besides producing palm oil and kernel oil, palm oil mills also produce liquid and solid wastes. The increase of palm oil production will be followed by an increase in the production of waste generated. It will give rise to major environmental issues especially the discharge of liquid waste to the rivers, the emission of methane from digestion pond and the incineration of empty fruit bunches (EFB). This paper describes a zero waste technology in processing palm oil mill waste after the milling process. The technology involves fermentation of palm oil mill effluent (POME) to biogas by using continuous stirred tank reactor (CSTR) in the presence of thermophilic microbes, producing activated liquid organic fertilizer (ALOF) from discharge of treated waste effluent from biogas digester, composting EFB by spraying ALOF on the EFB in the composter, and producing pellet or biochar from EFB by pyrolysis process. This concept can be considered as a promising technology for palm oil mills with the main objective of eliminating the effluent from their mills.