In recent decades, Malaysia has been known as one of the world’s leading producers and exporters of palm oil products. Every year, the number of palm oil mills increases rapidly, thus increasing the capacity of fresh fruit bunch waste or effluent discharge. Based on the data from the Malaysian Palm Oil Board in 2012, Malaysia produced 99.85 million tons of fresh fruit bunch (FFB) per year. However, about 5–5.7 tons of water was required in order to sterilize the palm fruit bunches and clarify the extracted oil to produce 1 ton of crude palm oil resulting in 50% of the water turning into palm oil mill effluent (POME). POME is one of the major environmental pollutants in Malaysia. The characteristics of POME and its behavior, if discharged directly, in water are described in this chapter. The suspended solid and nutrient content in POME could be able to support the growth of algae. This chapter aims to demonstrate that POME could be used as a main source for algae production, and this effluent is one of the main environmental problems in the tropical region especially in Malaysia.
Part of the book: Palm Oil