Journal of Oil Palm Research Vol. 24  2012 December p.  1511-1517

Greenhouse gas emissions for the production of crude palm kernel oil – a gate-to-gate case study

Author(s): SUBRAMANIAM, Vijaya* ; CHOO Yuen May*

Currently, carbon footprint, also known as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, is such a catchphrase in the world that it has become a must for responsible producers to quantify the carbon footprint of their products. The Malaysian oil palm industry is an export-orientated industry which relies heavily on the world market. Export earnings of oil palm products in 2010 alone reached RM 59.77 billion, while palm kernel oil exports increased to 1.16 million tonnes. However, the oil palm industry is under constant attack for its performance from the perspective of the environment, especially with regard to its GHG emissions. Being an export-orientated industry, this issue has to be tackled head-on to quantify the GHG emissions of the oil palm industry. The objectives of this study were to quantify the GHG emissions from the production of 1 t of crude palm kernel oil (CPKO) at the kernel-crushing plant, and to compare the GHG emissions of 1 t CPKO with and without biogas capture at the palm oil mill for a kernel-crushing plant located near the ports compared to a kernel-crushing plant located near the palm oil mill. The scope of this study is limited to the palm oil mill and the kernel-crushing plant. It starts at the palm oil mill where the fresh fruit bunches (FFB) are received, to the production of palm kernel at the mill, to the transportation of the palm kernel to the kernel-crushing plant, right up till the production of CPKO at the kernel-crushing plant. GHG emission was calculated using the global warming potential and emissions factors. Within the system boundary, the main contributor to GHG emission comes from the biogas at the palm oil mill, followed by the electricity from the grid for processing the palm kernel into CPKO. Capturing the biogas at the palm oil mill where the palm kernel is produced and using the biogas as a renewable energy source, reduces the main GHG emissions in this study. By integrating the kernel-crushing plant with the palm oil mill, GHG emissions from both the electricity to process the palm kernel into CPKO and transportation of the palm kernel to the kernel-crushing plant are reduced significantly. The best scenario will be to integrate the kernel-crushing plant with a palm oil mill that captures its biogas to obtain the best carbon footprint for the production of CPKO.

Keywords: , , , ,

Author Information
* Malaysian Palm Oil Board, P. O. Box 10620, 50720 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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