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Palm Oil

Sustainable practices for POME treatment

Introduction to Industry

Palm oil, a widely utilized vegetable oil, holds a dominant position in global vegetable oil production, accounting for approximately 30% of the total output. Its versatile applications span across various industries, including food processing, cosmetics, and biofuels. Nevertheless, the production of palm oil gives rise to a significant environmental challenge through the generation of large volumes of wastewater, commonly referred to as palm oil mill effluent (POME). The discharge of POME into nearby water bodies has become a primary concern in numerous palm oil-producing countries. The abundant nature of POME within every oil palm factory exacerbates the issue, leading to challenges in its disposal. The direct release of POME onto the land brings about detrimental effects such as soil clogging, waterlogging, and immediate vegetation destruction upon contact. Similarly, the discharge of POME into waterways contributes to water depletion and triggers aquatic pollution, further exacerbating the environmental consequences. Addressing the management of POME is vital to mitigate its adverse impacts and ensure sustainable palm oil production.

Overall, POME is a complex mixture of organic and inorganic compounds, including high levels of COD, BOD, oil and grease, suspended solids, and various pollutants such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The discharge of POME into water bodies can lead to serious environmental problems, including the contamination of surface and groundwater, soil erosion, and the loss of biodiversity.

Current Challenges

The treatment of palm oil wastewater presents several challenges, including high treatment costs, complex and variable wastewater composition, and the generation of large volumes of sludge and other waste streams. Of particular concern, are the residual COD, nutrients and the offensive dark color of the conventionally treated POME. There is therefore a need for the development of more cost-effective and sustainable treatment technologies, as well as increased awareness and implementation of best practices for POME management.

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What's Being Done Now?

Several treatment processes are currently used to treat palm oil wastewater, including biological, physicochemical, and membrane processes. Of particular concern, are the residual COD, nutrients and the offensive dark color of the conventionally treated POME. This color is due to the decomposition of lignocellulosic materials, resulting in the production of organic byproducts which are recalcitrant to the conventional treatments. Beside aesthetic problems, color affects sunlight penetration and limits potential wastewater reuse. Residual oil is another source of concern, as many industries discharge treated POME with oil above the discharge limit. Due to the pollution potential of POME and the failure of many industries to comply with the discharge standard, the environmental agenies made more stringent regulations.. Thus, stringent regulations may continue to evolve as the Government and the public intensify efforts towards environmental protection and sustainability.

What Hydroleap Brings to the Sector

Hydroleap is a provider of innovative electrochemical solutions that are unmatched in the market when it comes to treating palm oil wastewater. Our technology stands out from conventional solutions as it offers more profitable options for POME management. Our electrochemical based advanced oxidation treatment transforms non-biodegradable pollutants in the POME into nontoxic biodegradable substances by oxidizing a broad range of organic pollutants quickly and non-selectively through the generation of very reactive species such as hydroxyl radicals. Our treatment technology helps in overall organic COD reduction, destruction of a specific pollutant, increase of bioavailability of recalcitrant organics, colour and odour removal. Additionally, it has numerous benefits such as not requiring chemicals, being easy to operate, and producing no sludge formation. We provide a POME treatment solution that meets relevant environmental standards without the need for traditional ponding or biological processes. Our flexible solutions can be easily integrated into new mill designs or retrofitted into existing installations, making it a viable choice for various industries.

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