News last update:6 Aug 2012

Using oil palm waste for biofuel ethanol

An efficient method of producing biofuel ethanol from oil palm waste was published in the Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science. Researchers first separated glucose from cellulose in the plant matter, and then used it as a substrate for ethanol production.

The empty fruit bunches of oil palms are an abundant biomass waste, with 15 million tonnes generated annually by palm oil mills in Malaysia alone.
Usually material is burnt in incinerators to obtain bunch ash or dumped for mulching in oil palm plantations.
Suraini Abd-Aziz and colleagues in Malaysia and Japan set out to see if it is possible to use glucose recovered during phase separation process of acid-hydrolysed oil palm empty fruit for ethanol production.
Once separated, they tested different nitrogen sources to find the most efficient for the fermentation of the glucose to ethanol, finding both yeast and palm oil mill effluent work well.
The work presents a new approach to producing high yield ethanol using an abundant source of biomass.
Full Pernatika research paper:

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