Journal of Oil Palm Research Vol. 29  September 2017 p.  414-423
DOI: https://doi.org/10.21894/jopr.2017.2903.14

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT ON METHYL ESTER PRODUCTION FROM PALM FEEDSTOCK: A CASE STUDY

Author(s): NOORAZAH ZOLKARNAIN*; ZULINA ABD MAURAD*; RAZMAH GHAZALI* and ZAINAB IDRIS*

Methyl esters, derived from natural fats or oils, can be used as alternatives to fatty acids in the production of a number of oleochemicals and their derivatives. Methyl esters are widely used as feedstock for production of other oleochemicals, such as fatty alcohol, alkanolamides, methyl ester sulphonates, isopropyl esters, sucrose polyesters and many more. This Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study was conducted to identify the environmental impacts from the production of methyl ester using refined, bleached and deodorised palm stearin (RBDPOs) feedstock through transesterification process. The results showed that the most significant impact categories from the production of methyl ester were fossil fuels, respiratory inorganics and climate change. The main contributors to these impacts came from the production of RBDPOs, methanol and steam. These environmental impacts/contributions may be reduced and improved if a green technology is implemented, i.e. by replacing the existing sources of energy that are mainly used for boiler system and energy generation at plant (natural gas and electricity from grid) with renewable resources, e.g. biomass that are abundantly available in the plantation. In addition, bio-methanol may also be considered as an alternative source to replace the methanol from fossil origin in order to reduce the dependency on fossil materials in the future.

Keywords: , , , ,

Author Information
* Malaysian Palm Oil Board, 6 Persiaran Institusi, Bandar Baru Bangi, 43000 Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia. E-mail: azah@mpob.gov.my


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