Journal of Oil Palm Research Vol. 30  September 2018 p.  485-494
DOI: https://doi.org/10.21894/jopr.2018.0043

PILOT SCALE BIOCHAR PRODUCTION FROM PALM KERNEL SHELL (PKS) IN A FIXED BED ALLOTHERMAL REACTOR

Author(s): ZAINAL HARYATI*; SOH KHEANG LOH*; SIENG-HUAT KONG** and ROBERT THOMAS BACHMANN‡

Oil palm biomass wastes such as oil palm fronds (OPF), empty fruit bunches (EFB) and palm kernel shells (PKS) are amongst the most abundantly available agricultural residues in Malaysia. Of these, an average 0.16 t PKS per tonne crude palm oil (CPO) is commonly used in palm oil mills as boiler fuel to generate steam and electricity, while the remaining unused 0.20 t PKS per tonne CPO are often sold as fuel. In order to diversify and add value to the remaining PKS, it is proposed to convert it into biochar to sequester CO2 and improve the productivity of low-fertility soil. In this study, PKS was carbonised under allothermal conditions at various temperatures (400°C to 600°C) and residence times (30 and 60 min) using the biochar experimenters kit (BEK). Biochar yield decreased from 52.1 ± 15.5 wt% at 400°C (30 min) to 33.4 ± 1.4 wt% at 600°C (60 min), while pH, elemental and fixed carbon content increased with temperature and residence time. The VM/FC (0.25 to 0.60) and O/C (0.12 – 0.23) ratios suggest that PKS biochar is an effective carbon sink with a half-life in soil > 100 years.

Keywords: , , ,

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

** University Collage of Technology Sarawak (UCTS), Lot 868, Persiaran Brooke, 96000 Sibu, Sarawak, Malaysia.

‡ Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL), Malaysian Institute of Chemical and Bioengineering Technology (MICET), Lot 1988, Kawasan Perindustrian, Bandar Baru Vendor, Taboh Naning, 78000 Alor Gajah, Melaka, Malaysia.


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