Palm oil industry must be ready to accept new technology changes, says Fadillah
20 Dec 2022
The palm oil industry must always be prepared to embrace changes in terms of new technologies amid these challenging times, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof said.
Fadillah, who is also the plantation and commodities minister, said this includes the adoption of the Fourth Industrial Revolution concept, and the usage of artificial intelligence and the Internet of things, such as digitalisation and automation technologies to improve the current manufacturing process.
“The concept of smart palm oil mills based on zero discharge is the direction of the palm oil industry, and this can give a new dimension in the manufacturing sector, especially in terms of efficiency and continuous operational monitoring and being user-friendly,” he said at the opening of the National Seminar on Oil Palm Milling, Refining, Environment and Quality 2022 here on Tuesday (Dec 20).
His speech was read by the ministry’s secretary general Datuk Zurinah Pawanteh.
He said smart palm oil mills would be developed through the initiative of the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) in collaboration with the industry, namely with Fusionex Group.
“With the development of environmentally friendly products becoming a demand of the international market, I suggest that efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of palm products be emphasised.
“Malaysia is committed to achieving the net zero greenhouse gas emissions target as early as 2050,” he said.
He said the palm oil industry has an important role in this effort, especially in increasing biogas capture in palm oil mills.
“For that purpose, the MPOB has developed biogas capture technology, and cooperated with the industry to expand the application of biogas.
“According to the MPOB’s data, 135 oil palm factories have installed biogas systems as of 2021, which is 30% of total existing oil palm factories, while 15 factories are in the process of construction, and 130 factories are in the process of planning for the installation of biogas systems,” he said.
In that regard, Fadillah said he hopes that factories that do not yet have a biogas system would also increase their efforts to do so.
Meanwhile, he said sludge palm oil or palm acid oil has also become very popular for the export market recently, especially to European countries as a raw material for biofuel production.
“Low-quality palm oil from palm oil mills should be separated not only to improve the overall quality of palm oil, but also to provide additional income by exporting the sludge oil.
“The sludge oil can also be used as a raw material for the production of biodiesel and biojet for the aviation industry, and with this effort, the quality of palm oil can be improved, and the issue of contaminants in refined palm oil can be addressed together by the industry and the Government using the technology that is available,” he added.