Journal of Oil Palm Research Vol. 29 (4) December 2017, p. 570-578 NASRIN, A B*; VIJAYA, S*; LOH, S K*; ASTIMAR, A A* and LIM, W S**
Empty fruit bunch (EFB) is a potential feedstock for the commercial production of biomass pellet fuel. In this study, the fuel properties of EFB pellets collected from four production plants were examined and the impacts of pellets production to the environment were determined using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach. The fuel properties concerning moisture and energy content, bulk density and durability index were comparable to the European Standard (EN 14961-2) for solid biofuels except for the higher ash content i.e. > 6%. This high ash content contributed to the low energy content of the pellets. This was caused by contamination from soil and dirt, attributed due to poor handling of the raw material. The EFB pellets contained a high concentration of potassium, nitrogen, chlorine and sulphur compared to wood-based pellets. The presence of these elements affected biomass combustion at the furnace as well as emission generation. The Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) carried out showed that the main environmental impacts of the production of EFB pellets were fossil depletion, climate change and particulate matters emission. This was due to the plants’ heavy dependence on the grid-connected electricity. The results can be used to identify approaches in upgrading EFB pellets quality and reducing the associated environmental impacts.KEYWORDS:
* Malaysian Palm Oil Board, 6 Persiaran Institusi, Bandar Baru Bangi, 43000 Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
** 186 Jalan 17/14, 46400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.