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 Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani
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 Turning palm oil waste into drinking water

16/3/07 (NSTP) NIBONG TEBAL  -  While Singapore has NEWater, which is waste water that has been purified, Malaysia may soon have drinking water from palm oil waste.

Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) has scored another first by inventing a system which can turn palm oil waste into drinking water.

USM School of Chemical Engineering’s dean Professor Abdul Latif Ahmad’s invention is called the "novel membrane-based treatment system" which turns palm oil mill effluents (POME) into crystal clear drinking water.

The environment-friendly technology is set to reduce water pollution as it will help ensure zero discharge of palm oil waste into rivers.

"This invention is an innovative and cost-effective way of preventing sludge from making its way into the rivers and polluting them," Abdul Latif said.

At the School of Chemical Engineering in the USM Engineering campus here yesterday, Abdul Latif said he had been working on the project for the past 10 years with a RM500,000 grant provided by Yayasan Felda.

He said the system would help in ensuring a sustainable development of the palm oil industry as it emphasises zero discharge. He said most palm oil mills used the conventional method of treating palm oil waste with the biological treatment system.

"This system uses bacteria to eat and digest the dirty substances in the palm oil waste, which is not really effective as the waste is still murky when released into the river."

He said his invention only required four steps to treat the waste before it became clean enough to drink.

He said his team of researchers managed to design and set up a membrane pilot plant locally at a cost of RM150,000.

"It is not only cost effective but also uses Malaysian technology," he said, adding that a similar pilot plant designed and fabricated overseas costs more than RM500,000.

Malaysian Palm Oil Board ( MPOB ) Lot 6, SS6, Jalan Perbandaran, 47301 Kelana Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, MALAYSIA.
Tel : 603 - 7802 2800 || Fax : 603 - 7803 3533