Determination of GHG contributions by subsystems in the oil palm supply chain using the LCA approach
- 1.1k Downloads
With increasing attention on sustainable development, the environmental and social relevance of palm oil production are now important trade issues. The life cycle assessment (LCA) study of Malaysian oil palm products from mineral soils including palm biodiesel was aimed to provide baseline information on the environmental performance of the industry for drawing up policies pertaining to the sustainable production. The share of greenhouse gas (GHG) contribution by the various subsystems in the oil palm supply chain is considered here.
Materials and methods
The life cycle inventory data for the study were collected based on subsystems, i.e., gate-to-gate. The subsystems include activities in oil palm nurseries and plantations, palm oil mills, refineries, biodiesel plants and the use of biodiesel in diesel engine vehicles. Two scenarios were considered: extraction of crude palm oil (CPO) in a mill without and with a system for trapping biogas from palm oil mill effluent (POME). Inventory data were collected through questionnaires. On-site visits were carried out for data verification. Background data for resource exploitation and production of input materials were obtained through available databases and literature. Foreground data for all subsystems were site-specific data from nurseries, plantations, palm oil mills and refineries and biodiesel plants in Malaysia.
Results and discussion
Using a yield of 20.7 t oil palm fresh fruit bunches (FFB)/ha, the results showed that the production of 1 t of FFB produced 119 kg CO2 eq. The production of 1 t of CPO in a mill without and with biogas capture emitted 971 and 506 kg CO2 eq, respectively. For the production of 1 t of refined palm oil in a refinery which sourced the CPO from a mill without biogas capture and with biogas capture, the GHG emitted was 1,113 kg and 626 kg CO2 eq, respectively. For palm biodiesel, 33.19 and 21.20 g CO2 eq were emitted per MJ of biodiesel produced from palm oil sourced from a mill without and with biogas capture, respectively.
GHG contribution by the nursery subsystem was found to be minimal. In the plantation subsystem, the major sources of GHG were from nitrogen fertilizers, transport and traction energy. For the mill, biogas from POME was the major contributor if biogas was not trapped. Excluding contribution from upstream activities, boiler fuel and transport were the major sources of GHG in the refinery subsystem. In the biodiesel subsystem, activities for production of refined palm oil and methanol use were the most significant contributors.
KeywordsCrude palm oil Fresh fruit bunches GHG Oil palm seedlings Palm biodiesel Refined palm oil
- Corley RHV, Tinker B (2003) The oil palm. Blackwell Science, pp 562Google Scholar
- Ecoinvent Center (2004) The life cycle inventory data version 1.1, Swiss Centre for Life Cycle Inventories, Dübendorf, 2004, CD-ROMGoogle Scholar
- EPA (1994) Contract Emissions No. 68-D2-0159. Factor documentation for AP-42 Section 9.2.2, Pesticide application, Midwest Research Institute, Kansas City, MOGoogle Scholar
- Esnan AG, Zin ZZ, Mohd Basri W (2004) Perusahaan sawit di Malaysia- Satu panduan, Edisi Melenium. Lembaga Minyak Sawit Malaysia, pp 63–90Google Scholar
- FAO (2004) Fertilisers used by crops in Malaysia. FAO corporate document depository. Produced by Natural Resources Management and Environment Department. http://www.fao.org/docrep/007/y5797e/y5797e00.htm
- Goedkoop M, Spriensma R (1999) Yje Eco-indicator 99 — a damage oriented method for life cycle impact assessment methodology report, 3rd edn. Pre Consultants, AmersfoortGoogle Scholar
- Halimah M, Zulkifli H, Vijaya S, Tan YA, Puah CW, Choo YM (2010) Life cycle assessment of oil palm seedling production (Part 1). J Oil Palm Res 22:878–886Google Scholar
- IPCC (2006) IPCC guidelines for national greenhouse gas inventories, IPCC national greenhouse inventories programme. Published by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (GES), Hayama, Japan on behalf of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)Google Scholar
- Khalid H, Zin Z, Anderson JM (2000) Decomposition processes and nutrients release patterns of oil palm residues. J Oil Palm Res 12(1):46–63Google Scholar
- Khalid H, Chan KW, Ahmad T (2009) Nutrient cycling and residue management during oil palm replanting in Malaysia. Paper presented at PIPOC 2009, 9–12 November 2009, 27 ppGoogle Scholar
- Ma AN, Toh, TS, Chua NS (1999) Renewable energy from oil palm industry. In: Oil palm and the environment. Malaysian Oil Palm Growers’ Council, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, pp 253–259Google Scholar
- Mortimer ND, Evans AKF, Mwabonje O, Whittaker CL, Hunter AJ (2010). Comparison of the greenhouse gas benefits resulting from use of vegetable oils for electricity, het, transport and industrial purposes. Project code NNFCC 10-016. Study funded by DECC and managed by NNFCC, North Energy Associates, UKGoogle Scholar
- MPOB 2008 Statistics. Published by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board, Bandar Baru Bangi, Selangor, MalaysiaGoogle Scholar
- MPOB 2009 Statistics. Published by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board, Bandar Baru Bangi, Selangor, MalaysiaGoogle Scholar
- Nikander S (2008) Greenhouse gas and energy intensity of product chain: case transport biofuel. MSc thesis, Helsinki University of Technology, Helsinki, Finland, May 2008Google Scholar
- Puah CW, Choo YM, Ma AN (2010) Life cycle assessment for the production and use of palm biodiesel (Part 5). J Oil Palm Res 22:927–933Google Scholar
- Schmidt JH (2007) Life cycle assessment of rapeseed oil and palm oil. PhD thesis, Part 3: Life cycle inventory of rapeseed oil and palm oil. Department of Development and Planning, Aalborg University, DenmarkGoogle Scholar
- SIRIM (2010). Briefing on national LCA project of Malaysia. Seminar on LCA for Eco-Friendly products and Services, 15 Dec 2010, Shah Alam, MalaysiaGoogle Scholar
- Tan YA, Halimah M, Zulkifli H, Vijaya S, Puah CW, Chong CL, Ma AN, Choo YM (2010) Life cycle assessment of refined palm oil production and fractionation (Part 4). J Oil Palm Res 22:913–926Google Scholar
- Tarmizi M (2010) Fertiliser use in oil palm plantation. Private communicationGoogle Scholar
- Vijaya S, Choo YM, Halimah M, Zulkifli H, Tan YA, Puah CW (2010) Life cycle assessment of the production of crude palm oil (Part 3). J Oil Palm Res 22:895–903Google Scholar
- Wahid O (2009) Inventory of oil palm plantings on peat in Malaysia. MPOB joint project with the NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
- Zulkifli H, Halimah M, Mohd Basri W, Choo YM (2009) Life cycle assessment for FFB production. Proceeding of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Sustainable Conference, Vol 1, PIPOC 2009, 9–12 November 2009, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Malaysia, pp 371–387Google Scholar
- Zulkifli H, Halimah M, Chan KW, Choo YM, Mohd Basri W (2010) Life cycle assessment for oil palm fresh fruit bunch production from continued land use for oil palm planted on mineral soil (Part 2). J Oil Palm Res 22:887–894Google Scholar