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Using biomass residues from oil palm industry as a raw material for pulp and paper industry potential benefits and threat to the environment

Using biomass residues from oil palm industry as a raw material for pulp and paper industry potential benefits and threat to the environment

Environment, Development and Sustainability 15(2): 367-383

ISSN/ISBN: 1573-2975

DOI: 10.1007/s10668-012-9390-4

Oil palm industries produce an enormous quantity of lignocellulosic biomass; in the form of large leaves of palm tree, pruned fronds (OPF) and oil palm trunks (OPT) at the plantations site. Besides this, the processing of fresh fruit bunches in the oil mills generates empty fruit bunches (EFB), shells, kernel cake and mesocarp fibers. The proper management of this burgeoning waste and its disposal is an ardent task and creates environmental hazards. In order to deal with the biomass residues, the urgent need is that it should be transformed into resources with industrial utility. As the economic development has resulted in the significant increased demand for paper, the industry is looking for eccentric sources to fulfill the requirement. The pulp and paper industry preferred use of coniferous and deciduous trees for papermaking because their cellulose fibers in the pulp make durable paper. With improvements in pulp processing technology, fibers of almost any non-wood of plants species like bamboo, cereal straw, sugarcane, flax, hemp and jute can be used for paper pulp. Substituting this lignocellulosic material can reduce the burden on forest while supporting the natural biodiversity. The present review deals with the possibilities of using oil palm biomass as a raw material for pulp and papermaking, as this would ameliorate its waste management problem. The potential of oil palm biomass and the challenges regarding its use in papermaking are discussed. The use of oil palm biomass will apparently prove that the oil palm industry is ecofriendly in every aspect of its activities and aid in sustainability of forest ecosystem.

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