International Environmental Technology Centre 


Converting waste oil palm tree into a resource

Waste palm tree study report publicationOil palm trees are the most important plantation crop in Malaysia and Indonesia. The plantations cover an area of roughly 4.7 million hectares in Malaysia and 5 million hectares in Indonesia with about 100-130 trees per hectare. The oil palm tree, which bears fruit at the age of approximately two to three years, has an economic life of approximately 25-30 years, upon which the tree is felled for replanting. As the first plantations started in the mid-1980s, felling of trees has already begun, with several million trees scheduled to be felled every year for the foreseeable future. In the coming years, a large quantity of biomass waste will therefore be generated in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Currently, the resource is under-utilized. The felled trees are not used productively with any consistency, and are often shredded, filled in trenches and left to decompose naturally. In order to explore potential uses for this biomass, a study was carried out in Malaysia to determine the feasibility of converting waste oil palm trees (WPT) into a resource, either as raw material for various industrial applications or for utilization in energy generation.

The report of the study can be downloaded here.