Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter July 22, 2016

Biorefinery for the Production of Biodiesel, Hydrogen and Synthesis Gas Integrated with CHP from Oil Palm in Malaysia

Bamidele V. Ayodele and Chin Kui Cheng


Malaysia is presently the world’s largest exporter of palm oil with total production of 19.22 million tonnes of crude palm oil (CPO) in 2013. Aside CPO, by-products such as empty fruit bunch (EFB), palm kernel shell (PKS), palm kernel oil (PKO), palm kernel cake (PKC) and pressed palm fibres (PPF) are produced from the palm oil mills. These biomasses can be used as potential feedstock for the production of biofuels, biogas and bioelectricity. One of the ways to fully harness the potentials of these biomasses is by employing the biorefinery concepts where all the products and by-products from oil palm are utilized for production of valuable bio-products. In this study, technological feasibility of biorefinery for the production of biodiesel, hydrogen, Fischer-Tropsch liquids (FTLs) integrated with combined heat and power (CHP) generation was investigated. Flowsheet was designed for each of the processes using Aspen HYSYS® v 8.0. Material balance was performed on a palm oil mill processing 250 tonnes per year of fresh fruit palm (FFP). Results from the material balance shows that 45.1 tonnes of refined bleached deodorized palm oil (RDBPO) and 52.4 tonnes of EFB were available for the production of biodiesel, hydrogen, FTLs and the CHP generation. The annual plant capacity of the biodiesel production is estimated to be 26,331.912 tonnes. The overall energy consumption of the whole process was estimated to be 36.0 GJ/h. This energy demand was met with power generated from the CHP which is 792 GJ/h leaving a surplus of 756 GJ/h that can be sold to the grid. The process modelling and simulation of the biorefinery process shows technological feasibility of producing valuable products from oil palm.

Funding statement: The authors would like to acknowledge the Science fund RDU130501 granted by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation Malaysia (MOSTI) and the Doctoral Scholarship granted to Bamidele Victor Ayodele by the Universiti Malaysia Pahang.


1. Indati MS, Ghate AT, Leong YP. Towards greener environment: energy efficient pathways for the transportation sector in Malaysia. IOP Conf Ser Earth Environ Sci 2013;16:012122. doi:10.1088/1755–1315/16/1/012122.Search in Google Scholar

2. Shahid S, Minhans A, Puan OC. Assessment of greenhouse gas emission reduction measures in transportation sector of Malaysia. Jurnal Teknologi 2014;4:1–8.10.11113/jt.v70.3481Search in Google Scholar

3. Rahim KA, Liwan A. Oil and gas trends and implications in Malaysia. Energy Policy 2012;50:262–71. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2012.07.013.Search in Google Scholar

4. Mekhilef S, Barimani M, Safari A, Salam Z. Malaysia’s renewable energy policies and programs with green aspects. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 2014;40:497–504. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2014.07.095.Search in Google Scholar

5. Oh TH, Pang SY, Chua SC. Energy policy and alternative energy in Malaysia: Issues and challenges for sustainable growth. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 2010;14:1241–52. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2009.12.003.Search in Google Scholar

6. Ong HC, Mahlia TMI, Masjuki HH. A review on energy scenario and sustainable energy in Malaysia. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 2011;15:639–47. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2010.09.043.Search in Google Scholar

7. Shafie SM, Mahlia TMI, Masjuki HH, Andriyana A. Current energy usage and sustainable energy in Malaysia: a review. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 2011;15:4370–7. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2011.07.113.Search in Google Scholar

8. Ang CT, Morad N, Ismail MT, Ismail N. Projection of carbon dioxide emissions by energy consumption and transportation in Malaysia: a time series approach. J Energy Technol Policy 2013;3:63–76.Search in Google Scholar

9. Ahmad S, Kadir M, Shafie S. Current perspective of the renewable energy development in Malaysia. Renew Sustain Energy 2011;15:897–904. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2010.11.009.Search in Google Scholar

10. Mekhilef S, Saidur R, Safari A, Mustaffa WE. Biomass energy in Malaysia: current state and prospects. Renew Sustain 2011;15:3360–70. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2011.04.016.Search in Google Scholar

11. Ong HC, Mahlia TM, Masjuki HH. A review on energy pattern and policy for transportation sector in Malaysia. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 2012;16:532–42. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2011.08.019.Search in Google Scholar

12. Chua S, Oh T, Goh W. Feed-in tariff outlook in Malaysia. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 2011;15:705–12. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2010.09.009.Search in Google Scholar

13. Yusoff MHM, Abdullah AZ, Sultana S, Ahmad M. Prospects and current status of B5 biodiesel implementation in Malaysia. Energy Policy 2013;62:456–62. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2013.08.009.Search in Google Scholar

14. Umar MS, Jennings P, Urmee T. Generating renewable energy from oil palm biomass in Malaysia: The Feed-in Tariff policy framework. Biomass and Bioenergy 2014;62:37–46. doi:10.1016/j.biombioe.2014.01.020.Search in Google Scholar

15. Malaysian Palm Oil Board. PRODUCTION OF CRUDE PALM OIL IN MALAYSIA. Prod CRUDE PALM OIL Mon Oct 2014 2014;2014:2013–4. in Google Scholar

16. Mukherjee I, Sovacool BK. Palm oil-based biofuels and sustainability in southeast Asia: A review of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 2014;37:1–12. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2014.05.001.Search in Google Scholar

17. Cherubini F. The biorefinery concept: Using biomass instead of oil for producing energy and chemicals. Energy Convers Manage 2010;51:1412–21. doi:10.1016/j.enconman.2010.01.015.Search in Google Scholar

18. Szczerbowski D, Pitarelo A. Sugarcane biomass for biorefineries: comparative composition of carbohydrate and non-carbohydrate components of bagasse and straw. Carbohydr 2014;114:95–101. doi:10.1016/j.carbpol.2014.07.052.Search in Google Scholar

19. Temelli F, Ciftci ON. Developing an integrated supercritical fluid biorefinery for the processing of grains. J Supercrit Fluids 2014. doi:10.1016/j.supflu.2014.09.028.Search in Google Scholar

20. Apprich S, Tirpanalan Ö, Hell J, Reisinger M, Böhmdorfer S, Siebenhandl-Ehn S, et al. Wheat bran-based biorefinery 2: valorization of products. LWT - Food Sci Technol 2014;56:222–31. doi:10.1016/j.lwt.2013.12.003.Search in Google Scholar

21. Sun S-L, Wen J-L, Ma M-G, Song X-L, Sun R-C. Integrated biorefinery based on hydrothermal and alkaline treatments: investigation of sorghum hemicelluloses. Carbohydr Polym 2014;111:663–9. doi:10.1016/j.carbpol.2014.04.099.Search in Google Scholar

22. Ofori-Boateng C, Lee KT. An oil palm-based biorefinery concept for cellulosic ethanol and phytochemicals production: Sustainability evaluation using exergetic life cycle assessment. Appl Therm Eng 2014;62:90–104. doi:10.1016/j.applthermaleng.2013.09.022.Search in Google Scholar

23. Ayodele BV, Cheng CK. Process modelling, thermodynamic analysis and optimization of dry reforming, partial oxidation and auto-thermal methane reforming for hydrogen and syngas production. Chem Prod Process Model 2015;10:211–20. doi:10.1515/cppm–2015–0027.Search in Google Scholar

24. Rabelo SC, Carrere H, Maciel Filho R, Costa AC. Production of bioethanol, methane and heat from sugarcane bagasse in a biorefinery concept. Bioresour Technol 2011;102:7887–95. doi:10.1016/j.biortech.2011.05.081.Search in Google Scholar

25. Moncada J, El-Halwagi MM, Cardona CA. Techno-economic analysis for a sugarcane biorefinery: Colombian case. Bioresour Technol 2013;135:533–43. doi:10.1016/j.biortech.2012.08.137.Search in Google Scholar

26. Gutiérrez LF, Sánchez OJ, Cardona CA. Process integration possibilities for biodiesel production from palm oil using ethanol obtained from lignocellulosic residues of oil palm industry. Bioresour Technol 2009;100:1227–37. doi:10.1016/j.biortech.2008.09.001.Search in Google Scholar

27. Piarpuzán D, Quintero JA, Cardona CA. Empty fruit bunches from oil palm as a potential raw material for fuel ethanol production. Biomass Bioenergy 2011;35:1130–7. doi:10.1016/j.biombioe.2010.11.038.Search in Google Scholar

28. Hishida M, Shinoda K, Akiba T, Amari T, Yamamoto T, Matsumoto K. Biomass syngas production technology by gasification for liquid fuel and other chemicals. Mitsubishi Heavy Ind Tech Rev 2011;48:37–41.Search in Google Scholar

29. Galbe M, Zacchi G. Pretreatment: The key to efficient utilization of lignocellulosic materials. Biomass Bioenergy 2012;46:70–8. doi:10.1016/j.biombioe.2012.03.026.Search in Google Scholar

30. Pinzi S, Gandía LM, Arzamendi G, Ruiz JJ, Dorado MP. Influence of vegetable oils fatty acid composition on reaction temperature and glycerides conversion to biodiesel during transesterification. Bioresour Technol 2011;102:1044–50. doi:10.1016/j.biortech.2010.08.029.Search in Google Scholar

31. Gerpen JV. Biodiesel production and fuel quality. Dep Biol Agric Eng Univ Idaho 2005:1–12.Search in Google Scholar

32. Lim S, Teong L. Recent trends, opportunities and challenges of biodiesel in Malaysia: an overview. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 2010;14:938–54. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2009.10.027.Search in Google Scholar

33. Lakhapatri SL, Abraham MA. Deactivation due to sulfur poisoning and carbon deposition on Rh-Ni/Al2O3 catalyst during steam reforming of sulfur-doped n-hexadecane. Appl Catal A Gen 2009;364:113–21. doi:10.1016/j.apcata.2009.05.035.Search in Google Scholar

34. Wood DA, Towler BF. Gas-to-Liquids (GTL): A review of an industry offering several routes for monetizing natural gas 2012;9:1–34.10.1016/j.jngse.2012.07.001Search in Google Scholar

35. Fernandes, Fabiano AN, Francisco E. Linhares-Junior, and Samuel JM Cartaxo. Prediction of Fischer–Tropsch synthesis kinetic parameters using neural networks. Chem Prod Process Model 2014;9:97. doi:10.1515/cppm–2013–0048.Search in Google Scholar

36. Lahijani P, Zainal ZA. Gasification of palm empty fruit bunch in a bubbling fluidized bed: a performance and agglomeration study. Bioresour Technol 2011;102:2068–76. doi:10.1016/j.biortech.2010.09.101.Search in Google Scholar

37. Firdaus E, Saaed K, Bryant D, Jones M. Assessment and modelling of the waste heat availability from gas turbine based CHP systems for ORC systems. 2012:1–7.10.24084/repqj10.714Search in Google Scholar

38. Yoshizaki T, Shirai Y, Hassan MA, Baharuddin AS, Abdullah NMR, Sulaiman A, et al. Economic analysis of biogas and compost projects in a palm oil mill with clean development mechanism in Malaysia. Environ Dev Sustain 2012;14:1065–79. doi:10.1007/s10668-012-9371–7.Search in Google Scholar

39. Abdullah N, Sulaiman F, Gerhauser H. Characterisation of oil palm empty fruit bunches for fuel application. J Phys Sci 2011;22:1–24.Search in Google Scholar

40. West A, Posarac D, Ellis N. Assessment of four biodiesel production processes using HYSYS. Plant. Bioresour Technol 2008;99:6587–601. doi:10.1016/j.biortech.2007.11.046.Search in Google Scholar

41. Lee S, Posarac D, Ellis N. Process simulation and economic analysis of biodiesel production processes using fresh and waste vegetable oil and supercritical methanol. Chem Eng Res Des 2011;89:2626–42. doi:10.1016/j.cherd.2011.05.011.Search in Google Scholar

42. Hajjaji N, Chahbani A, Khila Z, Pons M-N. A comprehensive energy–exergy-based assessment and parametric study of a hydrogen production process using steam glycerol reforming. Energy 2014;64:473–83. doi:10.1016/ in Google Scholar

43. Cheng CK, Foo SY, Adesina AA. Glycerol Steam Reforming over Bimetallic Co-Ni/Al2 O3. Ind Eng Chem Res 2010;49:10804–17. doi:10.1021/ie100462t.Search in Google Scholar

44. Inayat A, Ahmad MM, Mutalib MIA, Yusup S. Process modeling for parametric study on oil palm empty fruit bunch steam gasification for hydrogen production. Fuel Process Technol 2012;93:26–34. doi:10.1016/j.fuproc.2011.08.014.Search in Google Scholar

45. Mohammed MAA, Salmiaton A. Air gasification of empty fruit bunch for hydrogen-rich gas production in a fluidized-bed reactor. Energy Convers 2011;52:1555–61. doi:10.1016/j.enconman.2010.10.023.Search in Google Scholar

46. Ayodele BV, Khan MR, Cheng CK. Syngas production from CO2 reforming of methane over ceria supported cobalt catalyst: Effects of reactants partial pressure. J Nat Gas Sci Eng 2015. doi:10.1016/j.jngse.2015.09.049.Search in Google Scholar

Received: 2015-11-26
Revised: 2016-5-24
Accepted: 2016-7-7
Published Online: 2016-7-22
Published in Print: 2016-12-1

©2016 by De Gruyter