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integrated waste management in palm oil mills in South-western Cameroon

Author: 
Formeluh Abraham Toh, Josepha N. Foba-Tendo and Christopher M. Agyingi
Subject Area: 
Life Sciences
Abstract: 

Palm oil is one of the most important vegetable oils and sustainable waste management remains a challenge in its production. Most of the nutrients are retained in the crop residues and vast potentials exist to tap the biomass waste and high organic-content of palm oil mill effluent (POME) as nutrient and renewable energy sources. This work was aimed at developing an integrated waste management scheme for multiple or value-added products for palm oil mill wastes using Green Valley Oil Palm Plantation as a case study. The work was done through field surveys, sampling, characterization, and anaerobic digestion of palm oil mill wastes from the plantation. The feasibility of anaerobic digestion of POME and empty fruit bunches (EFB) in the presence of boiler ash was investigated using laboratory-scale experiments. Single stage batch anaerobic digesters were operated with a retention time of 25 days under mesophilic conditions. Biogas generated burned with a blue/yellow flame, indicating a methane content of at least 50%. Anaerobic digestion of EFB and POME for energy and nutrient recycling is feasible with optimal compositions of EFB to POME ranging from 1:4 to 1:5. The EFB, POME and boiler ash contain nutrients: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K) that would supplement fertilizer inputs for greater productivity.

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