Researchers have developed new technology to help the global palm oil processing industry reduce CO2 emissions and create renewable energy from its waste. Malaysia is the second-largest crude palm oil producer in the world and fulfils nearly half of all demand for the oil, which is now used in a huge variety of foodstuffs and household products. Some 400 mills each produce huge amounts of waste, including kernels and husks from pressed fruits, discarded branches and waste water known as Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME). All of which is environmentally-polluting.
Once it is commercialised, the technology will enable palm oil processing facilities to turn oil palm fronds, trunks and empty fruit bunches into dried long fibre for matting, pallets, briquettes and biofuels. The palm debris can also be used to make a bio-fertiliser that retains the nutrients from the palm tree, cutting chemical use and creating healthier soil. This in turn improves the palm fruit yield and the quality of the crude oil.
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