Journal of Oil Palm Research Vol. 22  2010 December p.  887-894

Life cycle assessment for oil palm fresh fruit bunch production from continued land use for oil palm planted on mineral soil (Part 2)

Author(s): ZULKIFLI Hashim* ; HALIMAH Muhammad* ; CHAN Kok Weng* ; CHOO Yuen May* ; MOHD BASRI Wahid*

Life cycle assessment (LCA) is an important tool for identifying potential environmental impacts associated with the production of fresh fruit bunches (FFB) from specific operations in Malaysian oil palm plantations. This LCA study is to make available the life cycle inventory for cradle-to-gate data so that the environmental impacts posed by FFB production in the plantation can be assessed. The results of the study provide the Malaysian palm oil industry with information, and identify ways and measures to reduce the environmental impacts.

Most of the foreground data were collected directly from the oil palm plantations (site specific) from a detailed survey of the estates throughout Malaysia. The inventory data were collected from 102 plantations (based on feedback to a questionnaire) covering 1.1 million hectares of planted area, which is approximately 25% of the total area under oil palm. This survey area consisted of immature (1- to 2-year-old palms) and mature (3- to 25-year-old palms) areas, with both data sets included in the inventory for an amortized period of 25 years. Data gaps were filled by information obtained through literature and public databases, or calculated using published models. The inputs and outputs from upstream activities were quantified on the basis of a functional unit of production of 1 t FFB, while the life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) was carried out using the Sima Pro version 7.1 software and the Eco-indicator 99 methodology.

The weighted results of LCA for the production of 1 t FFB from continued land use (replanting) show significant environmental impacts in the fossil fuels, respiratory inorganics and climate change categories. The most significant process contributing to these environmental impacts comes from the production and usage of the various fertilizers (especially N fertilizers) from the use of field machinery (tractors) during operations in the plantation, and the use of transport vehicles bringing inputs to the plantations and transporting FFB to the mills. Producing FFB from continued land use (replanting) has no effect on land use.

The results clearly show that nitrogenous fertilizer production and application in the plantation is the most polluting process in the agricultural stage of FFB production; this is followed by the energy used by the machinery in the plantations and for transportation of FFB to the mills. Ways of reducing the environmental impacts are by increasing the FFB yield through the use of high-yielding oil palm planting materials which will result in increased fruit production, by applying more organic sources of nitrogen fertilizer instead of chemical fertilizers, by returning the nutrient-rich slurry from palm oil mill effluent (POME) treatment ponds to the field, or by applying compost (empty fruit bunches + POME) as fertilizer.

Keywords: , , , ,

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

Cited By

1. Ahmad, S., et al. "Life Cycle Inventory for Palm Based Plywood: A Gate-to-Gate Case Study". AIP Conference Proceedings 1571 (2013), pp. 569-575.
2. Ang, C. T., and N. Morad. "LCA, Ecolabelling and Carbon Footprint as Product Environmental Assessment Tool (P.E.A.T) in Malaysian Perspective." World Applied Sciences Journal 24(9) (2013): 1261-1270.
3. Choo, Y. M., et al. "Determination of GHG Contributions by Subsystems in the Oil Palm Supply Chain using the LCA Approach." International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment 16(7) (2011): 669-681.
4. Fogliatti, D. P., et al. "Life Cycle Carbon Footprint of Linear Alkylbenzenesulfonate from Coconut Oil, Palm Kernel Oil, and Petroleum-Based Paraffins." ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering 2(7) (2014): 1828-1834.
5. Guilbot, J., et al. "Life Cycle Assessment of Surfactants: The Case of an Alkyl Polyglucoside used as a Self Emulsifier in Cosmetics." Green Chemistry 15(12) (2013): 3337-3354.
6. Halimah, M., et al."Determination of Life Cycle Inventory and Greenhouse Gas Emissions for a Selected Oil Palm Nursery in Malaysia: A Case Study." Journal of Oil Palm Research 25.DEC (2013): 343-347.
7. Hashim, Z., et al. "Water Footprint: Part 2 - FFB Production for Oil Palm Planted in Malaysia." Journal of Oil Palm Research 26(4) (2014): 282-291.
8. Khairuddin, N. S. K., et al. "Life Cycle Inventory for the Production of Germinated Oil Palm Seeds at a Selected Seed Production Unit in Malaysia". AIP Conference Proceedings 1571 (2013), pp. 583-588.
9. Lee, K. T., and C. Ofori-Boateng. "Environmental Sustainability Assessment of Biofuel Production from Oil Palm Biomass". Green Energy and Technology Vol 138 (2013): 149-187.
10. Ludin, N. A., et al. "Malaysian Oil Palm Plantation Sector: Exploiting Renewable Energy Toward Sustainability Production." Journal of Cleaner Production 65 (2014): 9-15.
11. Muhamad, H., et al. "Life Cycle Assessment for the Production of Oil Palm Seeds." Tropical Life Sciences Research 25(2) (2014): 41-51.
12. Puah, C. W., Y. M. Choo, and S. H. Ong. "Production of Palm Oil with Methane Avoidance at Palm Oil Mill: A Case Study of Cradle-to-Gate Life Cycle Assessment." American Journal of Applied Sciences 10(11) (2013): 1351-1355.
13. Shamim Ahmad, M., et al. "Life Cycle Assessment for Oil Palm Based Plywood: A Gate-to-Gate Case Study." American Journal of Environmental Sciences 10(1) (2014): 86-93.
14. Ng, W. J., A. A. Rahman, and S. L. Koh. "Potential of Palm Biomass as Renewable Energy Source from Data Analysis of Sua Manggis Palm Oil Mill in Linggi, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia." WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment 186 (2014): 129-138.
15. Noël, J. A., P. M. Allred, and M. A. White. "Life Cycle Assessment of Two Biologically Produced Phase Change Materials and their Related Products." International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment 20(3) (2015): 367-76.
16. Awalludin, M. F., et al. "An Overview of the Oil Palm Industry in Malaysia and its Waste Utilization through Thermochemical Conversion, Specifically Via Liquefaction." Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 50 (2015): 1469-84.
17. Lim, C. I., and W. Biswas. "An Evaluation of Holistic Sustainability Assessment Framework for Palm Oil Production in Malaysia." Sustainability (Switzerland) 7(2) (2015): 16561-87.
18. Mahmud, J., et al. "The Design of Net Energy Balance Optimization Model for Crude Palm Oil Production." Communications in Computer and Information Science Vol. 516(2015):76-88.
19. Zolkarnain, N., et al. "Evaluation of Environmental Impacts and GHG of Palm Polyol Production using Life Cycle Assessment Approach." Journal of Oil Palm Research 27(2) (2015): 144-55.
20. Zolkarnain, N., et al. "Environmental Performance of Palmbased Methyl Ester Sulphonates Production using Life Cycle Approach." Journal of Oil Palm Research 28(1) (2016): 104-113
21. Marina Mior, S. N., et al. "A Preliminary Study of Knowledge, Attitude and Practices of Pesticide use among Oil Palm Workers in Johor". MATEC Web of Conferences.
22. Subramaniam, V. "Quantification of Greenhouse Gas Emissions for the Production of Crude Palm Kernel Oil - A Cradle to Gate Study." Journal of Oil Palm Research 28(3) (2016): 359-65
23. Azwan, M. B., et al. "Analysis of Energy Utilisation in Malaysian Oil Palm Mechanisation Operation." Journal of Oil Palm Research 28 (4) (2016): 485-495.
24. Azwan, M. B., et al. "Assessment of Electric Vehicle and Photovoltaic Integration for Oil Palm Mechanisation Practise." Journal of Cleaner Production 140 (2017): 1365-1375 25. Arshad, F., Y. A. Tan, and S. Yusoff. "A Cradle-to-Gate Study of GHG Emissions from the Transportation of Palm Oil, Palm Olein and Palm Stearin using the Life Cycle Assessment Approach." Journal of Oil Palm Research 29(1) (2017):120-129.
26. Maharjan, S., W. -. Wang, and H. Y. Teah. "Life Cycle Assessment of Palm-Derived Biodiesel in Taiwan." Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy Vol. 19, No. 4 (2017): 959-969, doi:10.1007/s10098-016-1290-0.
27. Rivera-Méndez, Y. D., D. T. Rodríguez, and H. M. Romero. "Carbon Footprint of the Production of Oil Palm (Elaeis Guineensis) Fresh Fruit Bunches in Colombia." Journal of Cleaner Production Vol. 149 (2017):743-750, doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.02.149.
28. Arshad, F., Y. A. Tan, and S. Yusoff. "A Cradle-to-Gate Study of GHG Emissions from the Transportation of Palm Oil, Palm Olein and Palm Stearin using the Life Cycle Assessment Approach." Journal of Oil Palm Research, vol. 29, no. 1 (2017):120-129
29. Nomanbhay, S., et al. "Microwave Pyrolysis of Lignocellulosic biomass––a Contribution to Power Africa." Energy, Sustainability and Society, vol. 7, no. 1, 2017, doi:10.1186/s13705-017-0126-z.
30. Zolkarnain, N., et al. "Environmental Assessment on Methyl Ester Production from Palm Feedstock: A Case Study." Journal of Oil Palm Research, vol. 29, no. 3, (2017):414-423, doi:10.21894/jopr.2017.2903.14.

Source: Scopus
Last updated: 27 Nov 2017

Call For Papers

Article In Press

Search for:

Most cited articles


Subscribe with us to get the latest information on Palm Oil Research from MPOB today!