UNEP IETC Releases Report on Waste Oil Palm Trees as Resource
7 September 2012: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC) has released a report titled “Converting Waste Oil Palm Trees into a Resource.” The report recommends converting waste oil palm trees into bioethanol and fuel pellets, and suggests this is economically viable and should be attractive to investors.
According to UNEP IETC, oil palms, with an economic lifetime of 25-30 years, are the most significant plantation crops in Malaysia and Indonesia, and end-of-life oil palms are currently underutilized and used inconsistently as a resource. In response, UNEP IETC commissioned this report to explore the feasibility of converting waste oil palm trees into a resource, either as raw material for industrial applications, or for utilization in energy generation.
The 220-page report includes chapters on: the characterization and quantification of waste oil palm trees in Malaysia; an assessment of current waste oil palm tree management systems, practices and utilization at national and local levels; the identification, assessment and selection of environmentally sound technologies (ESTs) for converting waste oil palm trees into material or energy; a report of a techno-economic feasibility study of using waste oil palm trees for generating renewable energy; and a proposal for converting waste oil palm trees into renewable energy.
The report concludes that the most environmentally sound technologies for converting waste oil palm trees into an energy resource are fermentation to produce bioethanol from oil palm trunk sap, and briquetting to produce fuel pellets from the sap squeezed residues. The report includes a financial analysis of this option based on the production of bioethanol and fuel pellets in a single production facility, and concludes that it is economically viable and likely to attract private sector investment. [Publication: Converting Waste Oil Palm Trees into a Resource]