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 Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani
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 Long Terms Benefits From Oil Palm Biomass

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 16 (Bernama) -- The initial capital outlay to furtherdevelop the oil palm biomass-based pulp and paper industry may be immensebut the long term benefits are tremendous, said Dr Mohamad Husin, aprincipal research officer from the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB).

"The beauty of oil palm biomass is that it is available in largequantities which can be processed into pulp and paper," he said. "A papermill will use up 1,000 tonnes of pulp and that means we have to cut downtrees to get supplies of natural wood. We need thousands of hectares offorests for this. But if we use oil palm biomass, we don't have to dothat. By using oil palm biomass will enable us to protect our forests aswell as other countries' forests and the environment," he said.

In an interview in conjunction with a seminar on Palm Biomass:Opportunities For Commercialisation here Tuesday, Dr Mohamad said theusage of oil palm biomass-based pulp and paper would help the enviromentbecause the usual practice in the industry was to dump the biomass back tothe field or burn them and this would pollute the environment.

Another advantage from using oil palm biomass is that Malaysia, now a netimporter of pulp, need not import it anymore.

"This is because we have the raw material. At the same time we can export(the pulp) to other countries and this can generate income to thecountry," he said Dr Mohamad said pulp and paper used from oil palmbiomass can be used in many ways such as cigarette paper and bond papersfor writing.

His involvement in research and development in processing oil palm biomassinto pulp paper started back in the 1982 following a collaboration betweenthe Palm Oil Research Institute of Malaysia (PORIM) and the GovernmentIndustrial Research Institute of Shikoku, Japan (GIRIS).

Dr Mohamad said research had focused on "kraft" (or strong in German) pulpand paper. Studies had indicated that kraft pulp from oil palm biomass issuitable for producing cement paper. -- BERNAMA

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