Journal of Oil Palm Research Vol. 32 (2) June 2020, p. 341-354 CHEE LIANG YUNG*,**; VIJAYA SUBRAMANIAM* and SUMIANI YUSOFF‡
Published Online: 11 June 2020
A gate-to-gate life cycle assessment (LCA) for production of refined palm products, i.e. refined, bleached and deodourised (RBD) palm oil, palm olein and palm stearin was performed. Five years inventory data were obtained from six palm oil refineries located in Malaysia – three from Peninsular, two from Sabah and one from Sarawak. The LCA study was conducted using SimaPro software version 8.5 and the impact assessment was performed according to ReCiPe 2016 methodology. Allocation based on economic value was found suitable for the current study, i.e. allocating higher environmental burden to the more valuable main products – RBD palm oil from refining process and RBD palm olein from fractionation process. No difference was observed in the environmental impacts between allocation based on mass and energy content due to similar energy content of the products. Bleaching earth, electricity and transportation of crude palm oil (CPO) were identified as hotspots in palm oil refining whereas RBD palm oil was the single major hotspot in fractionation process. Improvement in transportation of CPO can significantly reduce the overall environmental impact, through sourcing of CPO from nearby mills and use of modern Euro 5-compliant trucks as mode of transportation.KEYWORDS:
* Malaysian Palm Oil Board,
6 Persiaran Institusi, Bandar Baru Bangi,
43000 Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia.
** Department of Civil Engineering,
Faculty of Engineering, Universiti Malaya,
50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
‡ Institute of Ocean and Earth Sciences,
C308, Institute of Advanced Studies Building,
Universiti Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.