SANDAKAN, 30 Oct – Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) in collaboration with Kyushu Institute of Technology (KIT) are developing a zero-discharge system for a palm oil plant by the Kinabatangan River in efforts to encourage the green concept for industrial activities.

This institutional collaboration is the result of research sharing in sustainable projects in the field of science and technology (SATREPS) between Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST).

JICA, JST, UPM and KIT have been cooperating on research sharing and evelopment since the 1990s, particularly in the environment and biotechnology fields.

In addition, there will be a workshop on “Zero-Discharge from Palm Oil Industry & the Creation of New Green Profitable Business” to discuss business opportunities using the zero discharge concept. This will involve the conversion of palm oil waste into value-added by-products such as bio-plastic, biogas to generate electric power, charcoal from palm branches and kernels, water retention and the treatment of effluents, thus contributing to conservation activities in the Ramsar area of the Kinabatangan and Segama rivers.

Workshop chairman, Prof. Dr. Ali Hassan said the palm oil industry has become the collaboration focus due to the generation of excessive amounts of oil palm waste. This has created the opportunity to conduct research on finding the best methods and technology to reduce the serious level of oil palm industry waste.

“Kyutech and UPM have also proposed a new research project in Ramsar. The collaboration has developed multi technologies that can be used by industries to achieve zero discharge and sustainable development,” he said.

The expected potential impacts generated by the programme will be the following:
1.  A more efficient way to optimize oil palm waste by producing added value by-products.
2.  Sustainable practice in handling effluents at all palm oil plants.
3.  Pilot plant projects will be implemented at the palm oil factories that display potential for full-scale implementation.
4.  Creating opportunities for profitable green industry.
5.  Creating investment opportunities for foreign componies especially from Japan in the business of value-added products.
6.  The conversation of the Kinabatangan environment.
7.  Upgrading the image of the palm oil industry as an industry that practices sustainable development.
Prof. Dr. Yoshihito Shirai of KIT explained that the new project was to improve the use of excessive energy and more efficient use of biomass that would contribute to the conversation of the environment.

“We believe that the project will provide us with valuable knowledge to optimize produvtivity from the same plantation and create a new and sustainable palm oil industry,” he said.

KIT was established as the Meiji College of Technology in 1907 and has since been upgraded to a national university in Japan.

It has long participated in research and industry partnerships with foreign universities and industries such as UPM and FELDA

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