Oil palm empty bunch waste potential for co-firing

This article has been translated by PwC Indonesia as part of our Plantation News Highlights service. PwC Indonesia has not checked the accuracy of, and accepts no responsibility for the content.

Investor Daily - Limbah tandan kosong sawit potensial untuk co-firing

18 October 2023


Jakarta - Waste from empty oil palm fruit bunches can now be used as biomass raw material for co-firing power plants. The resources of empty oil palm fruit bunches are very abundant, especially in the West Kalimantan region. Empty oil palm fruit bunches have been deemed as waste. The abundance of empty fruit bunches in West Kalimantan is supported by the existence of palm oil mills with a capacity of 170 per day. 

Research was then carried out on the use of empty oil palm fruit bunches by Tanjungpura University. This research has been ongoing for four years and it has been proven that empty oil palm fruit bunches can be used as raw material for co-firing biomass for power plants. PT PLN Energi Primer Indonesia (PLN EPD) and PT Elektrika Construction Nusantara (EKN) are collaborating in utilising empty oil palm fruit bunch waste into co-firing biomass at PLTU Bengkayang, West Kalimantan. Both parties agreed to involve the Sambas community directly in the biomass production process. 

President Director of PLN EPI Iwan Agung Firstantara explained that this biomass processing is capable of employing 40 local workers in Sambas, West Kalimantan. He is also optimistic that the other types of co-firing programme that has been initiated will be able to absorb local labour on a massive scale and solve the waste problem that often occurs in various regions. "There are 40 people involved in the production of empty oil palm fruit bunch pellets. Likewise with other types of biomasses. Hopefully this will be a good start because until now the empty fruit bunches have been piling up in the plantations and now they can be used," continued Iwan Agung. Chairperson of the Indonesian Biomass Energy Society (MEBI) Milton Pakpahan appreciated PLN's steps in utilising oil palm waste as raw material for co-firing biomass. "I am very grateful and appreciate PLN EPI. Many people are ready to support PLN EPI in terms of using biomass to achieve the target of 10.2 million tonnes," he said.

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