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Palm Waste Management: Turning Trash into Organic Fertilizer

palm oil organic fertilizer

There's a customer from Malaysia sending us an inquiry and saying that He's planning to set up an organic fertilizer plant with palm oil waste as raw materials. Here is the email he sent to us:

My company is interested in setting up a production line for organic compost production from oil palm byproducts like empty fruit bunches, Palm Oil Mill sludge, Chicken dung and palm kernel shell. All these raw materials are in moist solid state. Moisture content about 40-60%.
Production is about 100 tonnes/hour with 8 hours/day.
Empty fruit bunches must be shredded into 4-6 inches in length or smaller. The chicken dung, palm kernel shell and Palm Oil mill sludge to be crushed into 2 mm size. All these to be mixed in equal proportion and injection with microbial innoculant liquid. These mixed material will be aerobic composted for at least 10 weeks before the compost is ready.
The composting can be in windrows or in special in-vessel aerobic condition for our stipulated capacity.The material may be in powder form or in granules.
Please quote the total cost of the production line with individual machines itemised for specifications and cost as well as installation in Malaysia.  An early reply would be appreciated as I have to submit the quotation to the Executive Committee for discussion and appraisal. There is no ceiling limit but we will go for the optimal costing for the stated production capacity.
Thank you.

That is the reason why we write this solution!

palm oil waste treatment

Oil palm is everflowering and harvested throughout the year, which has 25 years of commercial production. By 1970s, it was heavily cultivated in Southeast Asia, which has broad planting areas and high yield, surpassing in Africa. Oil palm is the oil crop that produces the highest oil. Economic planted oil palm produces approximately one ton of oil per hectare. It is known as oil king in the world in various oil crops.
Palm oil is one kind of vegetable oil derived from tropical woody plants, which is the largest variety of vegetable oils in the world's production, consumption and international trade. Palm oil is a vital part of the oil market in the world and the proportion of oil output is over 30%. Palm oil production is an important industry in Southeast Asia and plays significant roles in economic structure. With the development of palm oil market and increasing of international demand, the total production of palm oil will increase in the next years. In Southeast Asia, the main palm oil producers are Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Sri Lanka. Indonesia and Malaysia are the top two countries of producing palm oil, which accounts for 70-80% of the world total.

palm oil market shares

Generally speaking, palm oil wastes include palm oil mill effluent(POME), empty fruit bunch(EFB), palm oil mill sludge(POMS), oil palm fronds(OPF), oil palm trunks(OPT), decanter cake, seed shells and palm pressed fibers(PPF). When it is to extract one ton palm oil, it has 6 tons of old leaves , 1 ton of trunk, 5 tons of empty fruit bunch , 1 ton of peel fiber, 0.5 tons of palm kernel shell,0.25 tons of pomace and 3 tons of palm oil mill effluent. The wastes account for high proportion in the process of palm oil production. Palm oil waste management is an severe issues in the producing countries. On the one hand, it leads to loss of forest land, which makes many animals lose their habitats. On the other hand, it has a direct impact on the land and environment. In the long term, to recycle the wastes is the proper measure in the disposal. Using palm oil wastes as raw materials for organic fertilizers can not only reduce environment issues, but also help government solve municipal problems. It is the best fertilizer for palm trees. In this article, it will make a specific analysis on feasibility of palm oil wastes to be used as organic fertilizers in Southeast Asia, which is taken the palm oil wastes in Indonesia as an example.

Oil Products and Waste Biomass Obtained from Palm Fruits and Seeds in Malaysia
Palm Oil Production in Indonesia
Palm oil production plays an important role in the economy of Indonesia. As the biggest producer of palm oil, Indonesia provides nearly half of the total palm oil production in the world. It has 6 million hectares of oil palm planting areas.

Pattern of production and distribution

There are three kinds of business models of oil palm plantation in Indonesia for a long time, including large private plantations, the state-owned plantations and small individual plantations. Nearly a decade, in order to adapt to the international market development and price volatility of the situation, oil palm plantation structure has undergone significant changes. Self-regulation has gradually shifted from government-led and controlled market to market-oriented private sector operators. With regard to geographical distribution, the main producing areas of Indonesian palm oil are Sumatra island, where oil palm acreage and production accounts for 80% of the island of Indonesian total output.

Palm Oil Production and Export in Indonesia

palm oil production and export in Indonesia

Production capacity
Since 1964, the production of palm oil has increased from 157,000 tonnes to 33.5 million tonnes in 2014. The palm oil revenues take up 11% of the whole export proceeds in Indonesia. To continue the privileged positions of the world’s biggest producer, Indonesia plans to produce 40 million tonnes of palm oil. In the next few years, the total production of palm oil in Indonesia will increase continuously.

Total wastes from palm oil production

According to incomplete statistics, there are million of tonnes palm oil wastes in Indonesia. It mainly concludes palm oil mill effluent(POME), empty fruit bunch(EFB), oil palm fronds(OPF), oil palm trunks(OPT), decanter cake, seed shells and palm pressed fibers(PPF). All these wastes are in a huge number. With the more established palm oil plants, the more palm oil wastes are produced. In addition, the number will increase in the future.

main wastes of fresh fruit bunches

From the table, we can see that the palm oil wastes account for a large proportion in the process of palm oil production. It contains plenty of moisture in FFB. Although there is much water, it is good raw materials for organic fertilizers. Empty fruit bunch and shell constitute approximately one-fourth of the whole palm oil wastes. It has 13.5% fiber, mostly used in papermaking.

Making Organic Fertilizers Using Palm Oil Waste

Indonesia is the world's largest producer of palm oil, which accounts for nearly 45% of total world production. Empty fruit bunch are in a large quantity, but it is difficult to degrade. Palm oil mill sludge(POMS) contains high oil. They are major burdens on palm oil production plants. It has become extremely ecological problems to be solved for Indonesian government. Empty fruit bunch, palm oil mill sludge, palm fronds and shells, as raw materials of all, can be produced biological humic acid fertilizer and applied to oil palm plantations. It can reduce fertilizer utility, improve soil, enhance vigor, increase production and improve oil palm plantations capacity for sustainable cultivation, promoting sustainable development of Indonesian palm oil.

Empty fruit bunch

It refers to oil palm wastes remaining after threshing. The oil palm empty fruit bunch were directly discarded as trash. It not only polluted the environment, but also wasted a lot of materials. In order to solve the problems, it is used to produce organic fertilizers. In this way, it can be made into organic fertilizers, thereby turning waste into treasure. Meanwhile, it helps dispose a great number of oil palm empty fruit bunch, thus contributing to reducing environmental pollution.
Palm oil mill sludge

raw materials for organic fertilizer production

It contains a variety of nutrients in palm oil mill sludge. The sludge produced in the process of waste water treatment can all be used for manufacturing organic fertilizers. It is benefit for plant growth by high-temperature aerobic fermentation. It is dispensable of composting. Although it can be used as fertilizer directly, it has some bacteria in the sludge, which is bad for plants. Palm oil mill sludge can be get from palm oil effluent. POME is the effluent produced in the process of palm oil production. It is constituted of 95% water, 4-5% total solids and 0.6-0.7 oil. Owing to high organic content, it is suitable for producing organic fertilizers. What’s more, it solves the issues for palm oil plants. It is conductive to the growth for plants as well.

Oil palm fronds

It can be used for organic fertilizer production. It has 12 tonnes old oil palm fronds per hectare a year. Old leaves can be divided into two parts: the leaflets and the rachis. Leaflet mainly contains nitrogen and rachis contains potassium. If there are 136 oil palm trees per hectare and 24 old leaves are cut per year. Supply of nutrients from the older leaves a year are as follows. It has 136 kg of nitrogen, 10 kg of phosphorus, 183 kg of potassium and 17 kg magnesium. As can be seen form the statistics, it has high organics in oil palm fronds. Similarly, oil palm fronds need to ferment. Once the fronds are used to produce organic fertilizers, it is helpful to both palm oil manufacturers and farmers. It can prevent from soil erosion and improve soil structure.

Organic Fertilizer Production Technology of Using Palm Oil Waste

It mainly contains several steps in the process of organic fertilizers production, including crushing, composting and granulation.


The first step is to crush the raw materials.Oil palm empty fruit bunches should be cut into wire. The best length is 3cm, thereby increasing the superficial area of the thread, improving fermentation speed and shortening the fermentation time. Shells can be cut into particles in the size of 3-10 mm. Oil palm fronds should cut up as much as possible. In this process, semi-wet material crusher is suitable for crushing these materials. It can meet the needs of mixing palm oil wastes with high efficiency and short time.

Adding materials

According to different demands, appropriate additives can be added before composting. The common accessories include urea, sludge and fermentation strains. At first, add some sludge or turfy soil. It can add one point to one kilo of sludge or turfy soil in one kilo of palm oil waste. Then add the good amount of microorganism agent and urea, fermentation strains. It is appropriate that carbon-nitrogen ratio reaches 25 : 1-30: 1 after adding materials.
Palm oil mill effluent can be used in this step. Because of high nutrients, it is the best additive for organic fertilizer production. In addition, heavy metal content in the bottom of effluent is under the standard level. When it is added to oil palm, it is harmless to the plants. Therefore, it enables to increase the yield of palm oil.

organic fertilizer production


It is the critical step in the whole organic fertilizer production. During the fermentation, compost turner can be used to make materials fermented completely. In the process of composting, the temperature should preferably be controlled between 60-75℃. pH value should be controlled between 5.5 and 8.5. The moisture content is completely controlled 35% when the final fermentation materials is fermented. It is good for granulation in next step. The length of time is affected by the fermentation temperature, turning rate and moisture content. The fermentation temperature should be suitable for composting. It is not conducive to composting when temperature is too high or too low. Moisture content of materials should be adequately controlled in the fermentation process, so that the material can achieve rapid fermentation. It should also be in a reasonable number of times when palm oil wastes are turning. Turning too many times not only increases labor costs, to a certain extent, but also accelerates the evaporation of material moisture, thus affecting composting.


After composting, it can be granulated in accordance with different demands. According to test data of completely fermented materials, add a small amount inorganic materials, including N, P ,K, Ca and Mg, so that it can achieve organic fertilizer materials standard or meet the demand for using organic fertilizers of varieties of oil palm plantations. Then it can be produced into granules by fertilizer granulator. They are cylindrical particles and particle diameter is 0.8-10cm. Extrusion granulator can improve the effect of granulation, making the best size of granules.
When composting and granulation are completed, it can be drying, cooling and screened. The materials should be drying and cooling after granulation. It should be kept dry, which makes organic fertilizer easy to preserve. At last, the organic fertilizer is packaged.

Benefit of Using Palm Oil Waste to Produce Organic Fertilizers

Solving municipal problems
It is a path of sustainable development to produce organic fertilizers. The government in Southeast Asia is nagged by the palm oil waste management in recent years. It makes full use of raw materials and realizes the value of these wastes.

Reducing environmental pollution

It not only can dispose of all the empty fruit bunch and sludge of palm oil wastes, but also can handle a large number of palm oil mill effluent generated in the process of palm oil production.

High nutrients for plants growth

Processed palm oil wastes has high organics, which meets the needs of plant growth. Studies have shown that the organic fertilizers produced by palm oil wastes contain much more nutrients than common fertilizers. It has obvious effect on oil palm growth. It is one of suitable palm tree fertilizer.

Improving soil structure

It enhances soil fertility and accelerates growth of oil palm roots, so that promotes sustainable development of the oil palm industry. It can solve the problems of soil compaction, acidification and lack of organic matter. It can improve soil physical properties, promote the formation of soil structure, enhance the capacity of water retention and improve soil organic matter content, especially in oil palm root growth. Therefore, it can be called the best fertilizer for palm trees.

using palm oil waste to produce organic fertilizer

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