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Introduction to Palm Oil: From dust to dawn
The economical history of the oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) began in the rain forests of western Africa in the late 19th century. Since its introduction into Malaysia in the early 20th century until the early sixties its impact on the economy was marginal. For many years the economy of Malaysia had depended for its wealth and prosperity upon rubber. In 1961, Malaysia embarked on an intensive agricultural diversification program, and the crop that has achieved the most notable success since then is palm oil. Within a relatively short period, Malaysia became the world's largest commercial producer and exporter of palm oil in 1966. Diversification into oil palm means that the country is now less dependent on the fortunes of rubber as a plantation crop.
Palm Oil a Cost Effective Product
Palm oil is obtained from the flesh of the palm fruit. Each palm tree produces approximately one fruit bunch, containing as many as 3000 fruitlets, per month. In addition, each palm tree continues producing fruit economically for up to 25 years. This ensures a constant stable supply, as compared with other annual crops. Naturally, palm oil is characterized as stabilized oil due to its chemical composition. As such, it can be used in most food applications without hydrogenation, thus, reducing production cost by as much as 30%. Palm oil also is priced competitively and can represent a saving of upto several cents per pound, compared to other edible oils. Palm oil is available in a variety of forms: crude palm oil, palm olein, palm stearin, RBD palm oil, fractionated palm olein and pal mid-fraction. While most of the oil Malaysia exports is RBD palm oil and RBD palm olein, the range of products is available to suit a variety of manufacturing needs and in forms that are ready-to-use and require no further processing.
Palm Oil Composition
Palm oil is extracted from the mesocarp of the fruit of the palm Elaeis guineensis. There are a few varieties of this plant but Tenera, which is a hybrid of the Dura and the Pisifera, present abundantly through out the whole Peninsular. The mesocarp comprises about 70 - 80% by weight of the fruit and about 45 -50% of this mesocarp is oil. The rest of the fruit comprises the shell, kernel, moisture and other non fatty fiber.The extracted oil is known as crude palm oil (CPO) which until quite recently was known as the golden commodity. Palm oil like all natural fats and oils comprises mainly Triglyceries, mono and diglycerides. Free fatty acids, moisture, dirt and minor components of non oil fatty matter referred to collectively as unsaponifiable matter. 1. Tryglyceride It is a chemical compound of one molecule of glycerol bound to three molecules of Fatty Acid. CH2 – OH + R1-COOH + R2-COOH CH2 – COOR1 CH – COOR2 CH2 – COOR3 Triglyceride Water + 3H2O
CH – OH CH2 – OH Glycerol +
R3-COOH Fatty Acid
The fatty acids could be of the same type or they could be different. The property of a triglyceride will depend on the different fatty acids that combine to form the triglyceride. The fatty acids themselves are different depending on their chain length and degree of saturation. The short chain fatty acids are of lower melting point and are more soluble in water. Whereas, the longer chain fatty acids have higher melting points. The melting point is also dependent on degree of non-saturation. Unsaturated acids will have a lower melting point compared to saturated fatty acids of similar chain length. The 2 most predominant fatty acids in palm oil are C16:0(saturated) palmitic acid and C18:1 (unsaturated) oleic acid. Typical fatty acid composition of palm oil is given as: C12:0 C14:0 C16:0 C18:0 Lauric Myrstic Palmitic Stearic - 0.2% - 1.1% - 44.0% - 4.5%
C18:1 Oleic C18:2 Linoleic Others
- 39.2% - 10.1% - 0.9%
2. Mono and di-glycerides and FFA In the presence of heat and water the triglycerides break up by a process known as hydrolysis to form free fatty acids thus yielding mono and di-glycerides and FFA which is of crucial importance to the refiners. Hydrolysis can be represented as below: CH2 – COOR1 + CH2 – OH
CH2 – COOR3 Triglyceride
CH2 – COOR3 Diglyceride
Mono and diglycerides account for about 3 to 6% by weight of the glycerides in the oil. Good oils having lower amount of mono and diglycerides is said to be of great importance in the fractionation process because they act as emulsifying agents inhibiting crystal formation and making filtration difficult. The amount of mono and diglycerides and FFA is reduced in the process of refining as can be seen from their concentration in the DFA(Distillate Fatty Acid). 3. Moisture and Dirt This is a result of milling practice. Good milling will reduce moisture and dirt in palm oil but normally it is in the range of 0.25%. 4. Minor Component These are classified into one category because they are fatty in nature but are not really oils. They are referred to as unsaponifiable matter and they include the following: a. Carotineoids b. Tocopherols
c. Sterols d. Polar Lipids e. Impurities As a conclusion, palm oil is one of the most widely consumed edible oils in the world today. Beside, it contains more monounsaturated fatty acids than many other vegetable oils. Recent scientific studies indicate that consumption of monounsaturated has some beneficial effects in order to maintain a healthy life style. In addition, compared with other vegetable oils, palm oil is a rich source of the anti-oxidant vitamin E containing about 360 – 600 ppm in its refined form. There are certain reports show that: • Palm oil did not increase baseline serum cholesterol • Palm oil did not affect LDL/HDL ratio. • The vitamin E found in palm oil behaved as an anti-oxidant.
Physical Refinery: The first step toward edibility
Palm oils consist mainly of glycerides and, like other oils in their crude form, small and variable portions of non-glyceride components as well. In order to render the oils to an edible form, some of these non-glycerides need to be either removed or reduced to acceptable levels. In term of solubility study – glycerides are of two broad types: oil insoluble and oil soluble. The insoluble impurities consisting of fruit fibres, nut shells and free moisture mainly, are readily removed. The oil soluble non-glycerides which include free fatty acids, phospholipids, trace metals, carotenoids, tocopherols or tocotrienols, oxidation products and sterols are more difficult to remove and thus, the oil needs to undergo various stages of refining. Not all of the above non-glyceride components are undesirable. The tocopherols and tocotrienols not only help to protect the oil from oxidation, which is detrimental to flavour and keep ability of the finished oil, but also have nutritional attributes, α− and β− carotene, the major constituents of carotenoids, are precursors of vitamin A. The other impurities generally are detrimental to the oil’s flavour, odour, colour and keep ability and thus influence the oil’s usefulness. The aim of refining is therefore to convert the crude oil to quality edible oil by removing objectionable impurities to the desired levels in the most efficient manner. This also means that, where possible, losses in the desirable component are kept minimal. The impurities which are contained in the crude palm oil (CPO) is shown in table 1.0:
Substances Free Fatty Acid (FFA) Gums (phospholipids, phosphotides) Dirt Shell Moisture and Impurities Trace metal Oxidation Products Total Carotenoids
Content 3 - 5% 300 ppm 0.01% Trace 0.15% 0.50% Trace 500 - 1000 mg/ke
Table 1.0 Composition of CPO General speaking, the refining routes of palm oil is quite identical. There are two routes are taken to process crude oil into refined oil; which are chemical (basic) refining and physical refining. The methods differ basically in the way the fatty acids are removed from the oil. Physical refining, which eliminates the need for an effluent plant for the soap stock, involves subjecting the oil to steam distillation under higher temperature and vacuum for removal of the free fatty acids. The physical refining is used to remove the free fatty acids. The refining of physical plant is practiced to subject the oil to steam distillation. The typical refining process is shown inFigure 1.0.
Physical Refinery Process Description
The raw material which is used by physical plant is crude palm oil (CPO) from the CPO storage tank. CPO is feed at the flow rate about 35-60 tons/hour. The initial temperature of CPO is at 40 – 60°C. The feed is pumped through the heat recovery system, that is plate heat exchanger to increase the temperature around 60 – 90°C. After that, there is about 20% of the CPO feed to into the slurry and mix with the bleaching earth (6 – 12kg/ton CPO) to form slurry (CPO + Bleaching earth). The agitator inside the slurry tank will mixed the CPO and bleaching earth completely. Then, the slurry will go into the bleacher. At the same time, another 80% of the CPO is pumped through another plate heat exchanger (PHE) and steam heater to increase the CPO temperature to 90 – 130°C (it is a desired temperature for the reaction between CPO and phosphoric acid). Then, the CPO feed is pumped to static mixers and the phosphoric acid is dosed at 0.35 – 0.45 kg/ton. Inside there, the intensive mixing is carried out with the crude oil for precipitation up the gums. The precipitation of gums will ease the later filtration process, avoid the scale formation in deodorizer and heating surface. The degumming CPO then will go into bleacher.
In the bleacher, there are 20% slurry and 80% degummed CPO will mix together and the bleaching process occur. The practice of bleaching involves the addition of bleaching earth to remove any undesirable impurities (all pigments, trace metals, oxidation products) from CPO and this improves the initial taste, final flavor and oxidative stability of product. It also helps to overcome problems in subsequent processing by adsorption of soap traces, pro-oxidant metal ions, decomposes peroxides, colour reduction, and adsorbs other minor impurities. The temperature inside the bleacher must be around 100°C – 130°C to get the optimum bleaching process for 30 minutes of bleaching period. The low pressure steam is purged into bleacher to agitate the concentrated slurry for a better bleaching condition. The slurry containing the oil and bleaching earth is then passed through the Niagara filter to give a clean, free from bleaching earth particles oil. The temperature must be maintain at around 80 – 120°C for good filtration process. In the Niagara filter, the slurry passes through the filter leaves and the bleaching earth is trapped on the filter leaves. Actually, the bleaching earth must be clear from Niagara filter after45minutes in operation to get a good filtration. Bleached palm oil (BPO) from Niagara filter is then pumped into buffer tank as a temporary storage before further processing. Usually, a second check filter, trap filter is used in series with the Niagara filter to double ensure that no bleaching earth slips occur. The presence of bleaching earth fouls deodorizer, reduces the oxidative stability of the product oil and acts as a catalyst for dimerizaition and polymerization activities. So, the “blue test” is carried out for each batch of filtration to ensure the perfect filtration process. This test indicates whether any leaking is occurring in Niagara filter or trap filter. Hence, any corrective actions can be taken intermediately. The BPO comes out from the filter and passes through another series of heat recovery system, Schmidt plate heat exchanger and spiral (thermal oil: 250 – 305°C) heat exchanger to heat up the BPO from 80 – 120°C until 210 – 250°C. The hot BPO from spiral heat exchanger then proceeds to the next stage where the free fatty acid content and the color are further reduced and more important, it is deodorized to produce a product which is stable and bland in flavor. In the pre-stripping and deodorizing column, deacidification and deodorization process happen concurently. Deodorization is a high temperature, high vacuum and steam distillation process. A deodorizer operates in the following manner: (1) dearates the oil, (2) heat up the oil, (3) steam strips the oil and (4)cools the oil before it leaves the system. All materials if contact are stainless steel.
In the column, the oil is generally heated to approximately 240 – 280°C under vacuum. A vacuum of less than 10 torr is usually maintained by the use of ejectors and boosters. Heat bleaching of the oil occurs at this temperature through the thermal destruction of the carotenoid pigments. The use of direct steam ensures readily removal of residue free fatty acids, aldehydes and ketones which are responsible for unacceptable odor and flavors. The lower molecular weight of vaporized fatty acids rises up the column and pulls out by the vacuum system. The fatty acid vapor leaving the deodorizer are condensed and collected in the fatty acid condenser as fatty acid. The fatty acids then is cooled in the fatty acid cooler and discharged to the fatty acid storage tank with temperature around 60 – 80°C as palm fatty acid distillate (PFAD), a by-product from refinery process. The bottom product of the pre-stripper and deodorizer is Refined, Bleached, Deodorized Palm Oil (RBDPO). The hot RBDPO (250 – 280°C) is pumped through Schmidt PHE to transfer its heat to incoming BPO with lower temperature. Then, it passes through another trap filters to have the final oil polishing (120 – 140°C) to prevent the earth traces from reaching the product tank. After that, the RBDPO will pass through the RBDPO cooler and plate heat exchanger to transfer the heat to the CPO feed. The RBDPO then is pumped to the storage with temperature 50 – 80°C.
Palm Fatty Acid Distillation Plant
The separation of liquid mixture into their several components is one of the major process of the chemical industries, and distillation is the most widely used method of achieving this end: it is the key operation of the oil refinery. Though out the chemical industry the demand for pure products, coupled with a relentless pursuit of greater efficiency, has necessitated continued research into techniques of distillation. The distillation column is used in this purpose. The distillation column which have to be designed with a larger range in capacity than any other types of chemical engineering equipment, with single columns from 0.3 to 10m in diameter and from 3m to upwards of 75m in height. The purpose of designing is to achieve the desired product quality at minimum cost, but also to provide constant purity of product even though there may be some variation in feed composition. The vertical cylindrical column provides in a compact form, with the minimum of ground utilization, a large number of separate stages of vaporization and condensation. In practice, distillation may be carried out by either of two principal methods. The first method is based on the production of a vapor by boiling the liquid mixture to be
separated and condensing the vapors without allowing any liquid to return to the still. There is then no reflux. The second method is based on the return of part of condensate to the still under such condition that this returning liquid is brought into intimate contact with the vapor on their way to the condenser. Either of these methods may be conducted as a continuous process or as a batch process.
PFAD Plant Description
a) Feed Raw Material b) i) Major Product Produced ii) By Product Produced - Palm Fatty Acid Distillate (PFAD) - Distillate Fatty Acids (DFA) - Precut-Lighter Fatty Acid Component - Residue
PFAD Process Description
The feed Palm Fatty Acid Distillate (PFAD) from storage tank with temperature around 50 – 100°C will first passes through a heat exchanger network. The temperature of PFAD will increase to approximately 200 –220°C. Then the hot feed will enters to the Degasifier for separating some impurities and light fatty acid presented in the feed under vacuum system. After that, the heavy components of fatty acid (C10, C12, C14, C16 & C18) come out from the bottom of Degasifier will go into column C for more separation between light and heavy components of fatty acids. Before that, there are three distillation column are used in distillation process. The products of these 3 columns are as follow: 1. Column A: Precut 2. Column B: Distillate Fatty Acid (DFA) 3. Column C: Residue In column C, the feed with temperature 220 – 255°C will further heating by thermal oil boiler until temperature become 240 – 300°C under vacuum system. The fatty acids will evaporate under the vacuum condition and separation of light fatty acid and heavy fatty acid will occur. At the top of column C, the light fatty acid (precut with lower carbon number <C16) from the evaporation become vapor is continuously pulled out by the vacuum system. The precut then passed through the heat exchangers and cooled down by the soft water and PFAD feed before going to storage.
At the same time, the heavy fatty acid from the bottom of Column C (C16 & C18) is pumped to Column B for further separation. There is high temperature inside the column B which is supplied by thermal oil reboiler (290 – 310°C) will contribute to the vaporization of fatty acids. Therefore the temperature will increase (220 – 250°C) during the distillation process because of the higher boiling point of the fatty acids feed. The light fatty acid (DFA) from the vaporization of fatty acid is pulled out by the vacuum system into a reflux holder. When the refluks is overflow, the excess DFA is pumped to the heat exchangers and cooled down by the soft water and the PFAD feed. The DFA then is further cooled down in spiral heat exchanger (hot water/DFA) and plate heat exchanger (Cooling tower water/DFA) before sending to storage at 60 – 90°C. On the other hand, the bottom product of column B is residue, the heavy fatty acids component is pumped to the heat exchanger (Residue/PFAD feed and Residue/Hot Water) before going to storage tank. The uncompleted distillate will recycles back to column B for further separation.
Fractionation: Value added process?
The demand for liquid oils has increased in recent years, mainly for salad and cooking uses and an important property for such oils is low cloud point, which is the temperature at which turbidity appears when the oil is cooled under standard conditions. Liquids oils with a low cloud point are desirable because of the widespread use of household refrigeration. In order to cater for a wide range of markets, the Malaysian refiners start to offer product which are “harder”(Stearin) and “more liquid”(olein) than palm oil. These are accomplished trough a simple process of fractionation which is based on two fundamental operations: 1) Crystallization 2) Filtration Fractionation of palm oil can be described as follow. The triglycerides found in the oil have different melting points. At certain temperature, the lower melting temperature triglycerides will crystallize into solid separating the oils into both liquid (Olein) and solid (Stearin) fraction. The fraction can then be separated by filtration. It is worth mentioning that in palm oil fractionation, palm olein is the premium product and the palm stearin is the discount product. In Malaysia, fractionation of palm
oil into palm olein and palm stearin is accomplished using two types of processes which are “Viz Dry” and “Detergent Fractionation”.
Fractionation Plant Description
a) Feed Raw Material b) i) Major Product Produced - Refined Bleached deodorised Palm Oil (RBDPO) - Refined Bleached Deodorised Palm Olein (Olein) - Refined Bleached Deodorised Stearin (Stearin)
ii) By Product Produced
Fractionation Process Description
The dry fractionation is used to separate the palm olein and palm stearin from the RBDPO produced by physical treatment. The RBDPO is passed through the further fractionation process to get various grade of palm olein and palm stearin. Usually, there are three types of olein are produced: (1) normal grade olein, (2) super grade olein and (3) olein with cloud point 7 – 8°C. Crystallization Process Firstly, the RBDPO feed must pass the quality specification, colour<2.6R and FFA< 0.075 is fed into the heat exchanger. The RBDPO feed is heated up by hot waters around 75°C. After that the oil is kept homogenized at about 70°C in homogenizes before the start of crystallization. The idea is to destroy any crystals present and to induce crystallization in a controlled manner in the crystallizer. After that, the oil is pumped to the crystallizer. The crystallization system is a batch type and is equipped with special crystallizers operating alternatively. These crystallizers are made up of vertical cylindrical vessel full of thermo-regulated water which submerged barrels containing the oil to be fractionated: each of these barrels is fitted with a mechanical agitator. An automatic station controls the temerature in the various crystallizers. The crystallization process is carried out to remove the higher melting glycerides which cause liquid oils to become cloudy and more viscous at low temperature. There are 3 factors (temperature, time and agitation), have a fundamental importance on the formation and character of the crystal: 1. The lowering of temperature causes, because of supersaturating the higher melting component to separate from a solution. 2. Agitation facilitates the formation of small crystals.
3. Time with a gradual decrease in temperature and stillness, promotes the formation of longer crystals. The solution is pumped batch-wise into the crystallizer according to a pre-established programme. In the crystallizer, the crystal formation and growth occurs as the oil is agitated and cooled sing chilled water and cool water filled in the jackets or cooling coils of the crystallizer. Cooling can be governed by controlling either the oil or water temperature. Filtration Process After the crystallization process, the slurry from buffer tank passses through the filtration process for the physical separation between RBD palm stearin and RBD palm olein. Presently, the membrane filter is used for this filtration. Another alternative for this purpose is by employing drum filter for separation. The membrane filter is pressure filter where the filter pack comprising alternatively plates and frames, or a series of chamber is compressed between one fixed and one movable cover or bulk-head. The filter media are located between each individual element. Cake will build up in the hollow space between the elements and fall out of the press when the filter pack is opened. Composition of the filter pack is by means of electrically driven hydraulic system (75 bar), which controls the entire mechanical parts of units, head plates, filter plates, plate shifting device with the built in panel board.
Hydrogenation is the most widely used method of all the oil modification processes, to reduce the degree of unsaturated in the fatty acid groups of the glycerides. It is a catalytic process whereby the number of double bonds are reduced and by the same time isomerization of the residual fatty acids is promoted. Liquid oils with unsaturated triglycerides are thus transformed into fats containing a higher % age of saturated triglycerides: Hydrogenation is often called hardening of oils and soft fats. Catalytic hydrogenation, which has been known in fat technology since the beginning of this century, is used increasingly for the preparation of ‘tailor-made’ fats. Depend on the condition of the reaction, the basic reaction can be shown as follows: H R Hydrogenation H R - C = C - R + H2 H H R- C – C –
H H The complex system consists of three phases: liquid oil, gaseous hydrogen and solid catalyst. Hence there are many different internal surfaces through which the hydrogen molecules have to pass until they reach the double bonds of the unsaturated triglycerides adsorbed on the catalyst surface. As soon as the unsaturated bonds are saturated, the triglyceride moves off the catalyst surface, thus enabling the next unsaturated molecule to be adsorbed and processed. The overall hydrogenation rage depends on the quality of the reactant involved, the degree of refining of the oil to be hydrogenated, the activity and nature of the catalyst. In addition reaction parameters such as hydrogen pressure, catalyst concentration, reaction temperature, stirring, etc have an influence. In spite of these numerous reaction parameters that affecting the quality of the desired product, fat-technologist have resolved the operating conditions required for the preparation of tailor-made fats. This process is established mainly to add value to by byproducts from the refinery. The raw materials are from refinery: Palm Fatty Acid Distillate (PFAD) and Refined Bleached Deodorized (RBD). Basically, stearin is the main raw material for this plant.
Hydrogenation Process Description
There are various kind of oils used as the feed of this plant depends on the market demands, there are DFA, PFAD, RBDSt, precut and split residue. Firstly, the fatty acid feed from the storage tank (60 – 70°C) is pumped to the feed preheater. In the feed preheater, the fatty acid feed is heated up by the hot hydrogenated FA from plant until 140 – 170°C, before entering the reactor for hydrogenation process. Then, the hot feed is transferred to the reactor autoclave for reaction. The reactor consisted of the nickel catalyst which play an important role in the reaction as follow: 1. To avoid modifiers, such as sulphur, likely to give higher “trans” acid contents. 2. Comparatively high temperature to accelerate reduction of poly-unsaturated without formation of saturates. 3. Reduced the hydrogen gas pressure. 4. Lowering the iodine value to improve stability and good yield of liquid oil when winterized. 5. To remove materials responsible for clouding and solidification at low temperatures.
Plantains frying in vegetable oil
Vegetable oil is far less toxic than other fuels such as gasoline, petroleum-based diesel, ethanol, or methanol, and has a much higher flash point (approximately 275-290 °C). The higher flash point reduces the risk of accidental ignition. Some types of vegetable oil are edible.
Transportation For transportation the energy density and cost to store the energy are important. If the density is low or the cost is too high it is not practical to make vehicles with reasonable range. Vegetable oil and biodiesel are close to regular diesel. Another potential issue for new fuels is the Catch-22 conundrum: if there needs to be expensive new infrastructure before people will make cars running on a new fuel, and there needs to be new cars before people will build the infrastructure, how can the transition ever be made? With vegetable oil this is not nearly the problem that it is with some other fuels. The transition from petroleum oil based transportation to vegetable oil based transportation could be gradual and easy compared to hydrogen, ethanol, and most other alternatives. Vegetable oil is used for transportation in four different ways: Vegetable oil blends - Mixing vegetable oil with diesel lets users get some of the
advantages of burning vegetable oil and is often done with no modification to the vehicle. Biodiesel - If vegetable oil is transesterified it becomes biodiesel. Biodiesel burns like
normal diesel and works fine in any diesel engine. The name just indicates that the fuel came from vegetable oil.
Straight vegetable oil - Straight vegetable oil works in diesel engines if it is heated first. Some diesel engines already heat their fuel, others need a small electric heater on the fuel
line. How well it works depends on the heating system, the engine, the type of vegetable oil (thinner is easier), and the climate (warmer is easier). Some data is available on results users are seeing. As vegetable oil has become more popular as a fuel, engines are being designed to handle it better. The Elsbett engine is designed to run on straight vegetable oil.
However, as of the start of 2007, it seems that there are not any production vehicles
warrantied for burning straight vegetable oil, although Deutz offer a tractor and John Deere are known to be in late stages of engine development. There is a German rapeseed oil fuel standard DIN 51605. At this point straight vegetable oil is only a niche market although the market segment in Germany is rapidly growing with large haulage vehicle fleets adopting the fuel, largely for economic reasons. A growing number of decentralised oil mills provide a large part of this fuel. Vegetable oil refining - Vegetable oil can be used as feedstock for an oil refinery. There it
can be transformed into fuel by hydrocracking (which breaks big molecules into smaller ones using hydrogen) or hydrogenation (which adds hydrogen to molecules). These methods can produce gasoline, diesel, or propane. Some commercial examples of vegetable oil refining are NExBTL, H-Bio, and theConocoPhilips Process.
The transition can start with biodiesel, vegetable oil refining, and vegetable oil blends, since these technologies do not require the capital outlay of converting an engine to run on vegetable oils. Because it costs to convert vegetable oil into biodiesel it is expected that vegetable oil will always be cheaper than biodiesel. After there are production cars that can use straight vegetable oil and a standard type available at gas stations, consumers will probably choose straight vegetable oil to save money. So the transition to vegetable oil can happen gradually.
/ cost / price / taxes
Availability of biodiesel around the World is increasing. It is estimated that by 2010 the market for biodiesel will be 7.5 billion litres (2 billion USgallons) in the U.S and 9.5 billion litres (2.5 billion USgallons) in Europe.  Biodiesel currently has 3% of the diesel market in Germany and is the number 1 alternative fuel. The German government has a Biofuels Roadmap in which they expect to reach 10% biofuels by 2010 with the diesel 10% coming from fuel made from vegetable oil.  From 2005 to 2007 a number of types of vegetable oil have doubled in price. The rise in vegetable oil prices is largely attributed to biofuel demand. 
Much of the fuel price at the pump is due to fuel tax. If you buy vegetable oil at the grocery store it does not have such high taxes. So at times people have bought vegetable oil at the store for their cars because it was cheaper. They did this in spite of the fact that packaging by the gallon adds to the cost and it was illegal to use in a car since no fuel tax had been paid on it.  Since vegetable oil (even as biodiesel) does not contribute to greenhouse gas, governments may tax it much less than gasoline as they have done with ethanol. This would help them reach Kyoto protocol targets.
in sufficient quantity
African Oil Palm (Elaeis guineensis
The World production of vegetable oil seed is forecast to be 418 million tonnes in 2008/09. After pressing this will make 131 million tonnes of vegetable oil.  Much of this is from Oil Palm, and palm oil production is growing at 5% per year. At about 7.5 lb/USgal (900 g/L) this is about 38 billion USgallons (144 billion L). Currently vegetable oil is mostly used in food and some industrial uses with a small percentage used as fuel. The major fuel usage is by conversion to biodiesel with about 3 billion gallons in 2009.  In 2004 the US consumed 530 billion litres (140 billion USgal) of gasoline and 150 billion litres (40 billion USgal) of diesel.  Inbiodiesel it says oil palm produces 5940 litres per hectare (635 USgal/acre) of palm oil each year. To make 180 billion US gallons of vegetable oil each year would require 1,150,000 square kilometres (443,000 sq mi) or a square of land 1070 kilometres (666 miles) on a side.
"The gradual move from oil has begun. Over the next 15 to 20 years we may see biofuels providing a full 25 percent of the world's energy needs. While the move is good for reducing greenhouse emissions, soaring oil prices have encouraged most countries to 'go green' by switching to greater use of biofuels." - Alexander Müller, Assistant Director-General of Sustainable Development at the FAO. Algaculture could potentially produce far more oil per unit area.  Results from pilot algaculture projects using sterile CO2 from power plant smokestacks look promising. Genetic modifications to soybeans are already
being used. Genetic modifications and breeding can increase vegetable oil yields. From 1979 to 2005 the soybean yield in bushels per acre more than doubled.  A company has developed a variety of camelina sativa that yields 20% more oil than the standard variety. 
Impact on developing countries
Demand for fuel in rich countries is now competing against demand for food in poor countries. Cars, not people, used most of the increase in world grain consumption in 2006. The grain required to fill a 25-gallon SUV gas tank with ethanol will feed one person for a year.  Several factors combine to make recent grain and oilseed price increases impact poor countries more: The World Bank estimated that in 2001 there were 2.7 billion people who lived
in poverty on less than US$ (PPP) 2 per day. This was nearly half the 2001 world population of 6 billion. While rich people buy processed and packaged foods like Wheaties, where prices don't
change much if wheat prices go up, poor people buy more grains like wheat and feel the full impact of grain price changes. Poor people spend a higher portion of their income on food, so higher food prices hurt
them more, unless they are farmers. If a poor person spends 60% of their money on food and then the food prices double, they will experience immediate hardship. So higher grain and oilseed prices will affect poorer countries more. Aid organizations that buy food and send it to poor countries are only able to send half as
much food on the same budget if prices double. But the higher prices mean there are more people in need of aid. 
The impact is not all negative. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recognizes the potential opportunities that the growing biofuel market offers to small farmers and aquaculturers around the world and has recommended small-scale financing to help farmers in poor countries produce local biofuel . On the other hand, poor countries that do substantial farming have increased profits due to biofuels. If vegetable oil prices double, the profit margin could more than double. In the past rich countries have been dumping subsidized grains at below cost prices into poor countries and hurting the local farming industries. With biofuels using grains the rich countries no longer have grain surpluses to get rid of. Farming in poor countries is seeing healthier profit margins and expanding. Interviews with local peasants in southern Ecuador provide strong anecdotal evidence that the high price of corn is encouraging the burning of tropical forests. The destruction of tropical forests now account for 20% of all greenhouse gas emmisons
Oil price increases
Oil price increases since 2003 resulted in increased demand for biofuels. Transforming vegetable oil into biodiesel is not very hard or costly so there is a profitable arbitrage situation if vegetable oil is much cheaper than diesel. Diesel is also made from crude oil, so vegetable oil prices are partially linked to crude oil prices. Farmers can switch to growing vegetable oil crops if those are more profitable than food crops. So all food prices are linked to vegetable oil prices, and in turn to crude oil prices. A World Bank study concluded that oil prices and a weak dollar explain 25-30% of total price rise between January 2002 until June 2008. Demand for oil is outstripping the supply of oil and oil depletion is expected to cause crude oil prices to go up over the next 50 years. Record oil prices are inflating food prices worldwide, including those crops that have no relation to biofuels, such as rice and fish. In Germany and Canada it is now much cheaper to heat a house by burning grain than by using fuel derived from crude oil.  With oil at $120/barrel a savings of a factor of 3 on heating costs is possible. When crude oil was at $25/barrel there was no economic incentive to switch to a grain fed heater. From 1971 to 1973, around the time of the 1973 oil crisis, corn and wheat prices went up by a factor of 3. There was no significant biofuel usage at that time.
Further information: Agricultural policy of the United States Some argue that the US government policy of encouraging ethanol from corn is the main cause for food price increases. US Federal government ethanol subsidizes total $7 billion per year, or $1.90 per gallon. Ethanol provides only 55% as much energy as gasoline per gallon, realizing about a $3.45 per gallon gasoline trade off. Corn is used to feed chickens, cows, and pigs. So higher corn prices lead to higher prices for chicken, beef, pork, milk, cheese, etc. U.S. Senators introduced the BioFuels Security Act in 2006. "It's time for Congress to realize what farmers in America's heartland have known all along - that we have the capacity and ingenuity to decrease our dependence on foreign oil by growing our own fuel," said U.S. Senator for Illinois Barack Obama. Two-thirds of U.S. oil consumption is due to the transportation sector. The “Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007” has a significant impact on U.S. Energy Policy. With the high profitability of growing corn, more and more farmers switch to growing corn until the profitability of other crops goes up to match that of corn. So the ethanol/corn subsidies drive up the prices of other farm crops. The US - an important export country for food stocks - will convert 18% of its grain output to ethanol in 2008. Across the US, 25% of the whole corn crop went to ethanol in 2007. The percentage of corn going to biofuel is expected to go up.  Since 2004 a US subsidy has been paid to companies that blend biofuel and regular fuel.  The European biofuel subsidy is paid at the point of sale.  Companies import biofuel to the US, blend 1% or even 0.1% regular fuel, and then ship the blended fuel to Europe, where it can get a second subsidy. These blends are called B99 or B99.9 fuel. The practice is called "splash and dash". The imported fuel may even come from Europe to the US, get 0.1% regular fuel, and then go back to Europe. For B99.9 fuel the US blender gets a subsidy of $0.999 per gallon. The European biodiesel producers have urged the EU to impose punitive duties on these subsidized imports.  US lawmakers are also looking at closing this loophole.  The US had arranged things so that Japan had to buy rice from US farmers even if they did not want it and they could not re-export that rice. This led to huge stockpiles of unused rice in Japan. This policy may be changing.
Palm oil is an edible plant oil derived from the pulp of the fruit of the oil palm Elaeis guineensis.
Palm oil is naturally reddish because it contains a high amount of beta-carotene (though boiling palm oil destroys the beta-carotene rendering the oil colourless). Palm oil is one of the few vegetable oils relatively high in saturated fats (like palm kernel oil and coconut oil). It is thus semisolid at typical temperate climate room temperatures, though it will more often appear as liquid in warmer countries. Palm oil contains several saturated and unsaturated fats in the forms of lauric (0.1%, saturated), myristic (0.1%, saturated), palmitic (44%, saturated), stearic (5%, saturated), oleic (39%, monounsaturated), linoleic (10%, polyunsaturated), and linolenic (0.3%, polyunsaturated) acids.
Like any vegetable oils, palm oil is designated as cholesterol-free,, however saturated
fat intake increases LDL cholesterol. Palm oil is a very common cooking ingredient in southeast Asia and the tropical belt of Africa. Its increasing use in the commercial food industry in other parts of the world is buoyed by its cheaper pricing, the high oxidative stability of the refined product. Palm oil contains more saturated fats than other vegetable oils. The palm fruit yields two distinct oils - palm oil and palm kernel oil.
Palm oil (from the African Oil Palm, Elaeis guineensis) is long recognized in West African countries, and is widely use as a cooking oil. European merchants trading with West Africa occasionally purchased palm oil for use in Europe, but as the oil was bulky and cheap, palm oil remained rare outside West Africa. In the Asante Confederacy, state-owned slaves built large plantations of oil palmtrees, while in the neighbouring Kingdom of Dahomey, King Ghezo passed a law in 1856 forbidding his subjects from cutting down oil palms. Palm oil became a highly sought-after commodity by British traders, for use as an industrial lubricant for the machines of Britain's Industrial Revolution, as well as forming the basis of soap products, such as Lever Brothers' (now Unilever). "Sunlight Soap", and the American Palmolive brand. By c. 1870, palm oil constituted the primary export of some West African countries such as Ghana and Nigeria, although this was overtaken by cocoa in the 1880s.
Oil palms were introduced to Java by the Dutch in 1848 and Malaysia (then the British colony of Malaya) in 1910 by Scotsman William Sime and English banker Henry Darby. The first few plantations were established and operated by British plantation owners, such as Sime Darby and Boustead. The large plantation companies remained listed in London until the Malaysian government engineered the "Malaysianisation" policy throughout the 1960s and 1970s.
In December 2006, the Malaysian government initiated merger of Sime Darby Berhad, Golden Hope Plantations Berhad and Kumpulan Guthrie Berhad to create the world’s largest listed oil palm plantation player. In a landmark deal valued at RM31 billion, the merger involved the businesses of eight listed companies controlled by Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF). A special purpose vehicle, Synergy Drive Sdn Bhd, offered to acquire all the businesses including assets and liabilities of the eight listed companies. With 543,000 hectares of plantation landbank, the merger resulted in the new oil palm plantation entity that could produce 2.5 million tonnes of palm oil or 5% of global production in 2006. A year later, the merger completed and the entity was renamed Sime Darby Berhad. Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) was formed on July 1, 1956 when the Land Development Act came into force with the main aim of eradicating poverty. Settlers were each allocated 10 acres of land (about 4 hectares) planted either with oil palm or rubber, and given 20 years to pay off the debt for the land. After Malaysia achieve independence in 1957, the government focused on value adding of rubber planting, boosting exports, and alleviating poverty through land schemes. In the 1960s and 1970s, the government encouraged planting of other crops, to cushion the economy when world prices of tin and rubber plunged. Rubber estates gave way to oil palm plantations. In 1961, Felda's first oil palm settlement opened, measuring only 375 hectares of land. As of 2000, 685,520 hectares of the land under Felda's programmes were devoted to oil palms. By 2008, Felda's resettlement broadened to 112,635 families and they work on 853,313 hectares of agriculture land throughout Malaysia. Oil palm planting took up 84% of Felda's plantation landbank. Research In the 1960s, research and development (R&D) in oil palm breeding began to expand after Malaysia's Department of Agriculture established an exchange program with West African economies and four private plantations formed the Oil Palm Genetics Laboratory. The government also established Kolej Serdang, which became the Universiti Pertanian Malaysia (UPM) in the 1970s to train agricultural and agro-industrial engineers and agro-business graduates to conduct research in the field. In 1979, following strong lobbying from oil palm planters and support from the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) and UPM, the government set up the Palm Oil Research Institute of Malaysia (Porim). B.C. Sekhar was instrumental in Porim's recruitment and training of scientists to undertake R&D in oil palm tree breeding, palm oil nutrition and potential oleochemicaluse. Sekhar, as founder and chairman, strategised Porim to be a public-and-private-coordinated institution. As a result, Porim (renamed Malaysian Palm Oil Board
in 2000) became Malaysia's top research entity with the highest technology commercialisation rate of 20% compared to 5% among local universities. While MPOB has gained international prominence, its relevance is dependent on it churning out breakthrough findings in the world's fast-changing oil crop genetics, dietary fat nutrition and process engineering landscape. Nutrition Further information: palmitic acid The approximate concentration of fatty acids (FAs) in palm oil is as follows: Fatty acid content of palm oil
Type of fatty acid pct
Palmitic C16 Stearic C18 Myristic C14 Oleic C18 Linoleic C18 Other/Unknown
44.3% 4.6% 1.0% 38.7% 10.5% 0.9%
green: Saturated; blue: Mono unsaturated; orange: Poly unsaturated
Fatty acid content of palm kernel oil
Type of fatty acid pct
Lauric C12 Myristic C14 Palmitic C16 Capric C10 Caprylic C8 Stearic C18 Oleic C18 Linoleic C18 Other/Unknown
48.2% 16.2% 8.4% 3.4% 3.3% 2.5% 15.3% 2.3% 0.4%
green: Saturated; blue: Mono unsaturated; orange: Poly unsaturated
Red palm oil not only supplies fatty acids essential for proper growth and development, but it is packed with an assortment of vitamins, antioxidants, and other phytonutrients important for good
health. Red palm oil gets its name from its characteristic dark red color. The color comes from carotenes such as beta-carotene and lycopene—the same nutrients that give tomatoes and carrots and other fruits and vegetables their rich red and orange colors. Red palm oil is the richest dietary source of provitamin A carotenes (beta-carotene and alphacarotene). It has 15 times more provitamin A carotenes than carrots and 300 times more than tomatoes. This has made it a valued resource in the treatment of vitamin A deficiency. People who do not consume enough vitamin A in their diet suffer from blindness, weaken bones, lower immunity, and adversely affect learning ability and mental function. Just one teaspoon a day of red palm oil supplies children with the daily recommend amount of vitamin A. Nursing mothers, by adding red palm oil into their diet, can double or triple the amount of vitamin A in breast milk. Red palm oil contains by far more nutrients than any other dietary oil. In addition to betacarotene, alpha-carotene, and lycopene it contains at least 20 other carotenes along with tocopherols andtocotrienols (members of the vitamin E family), vitamin K, CoQ10, squalene, phytosterols, flavonoids, phenolic acids, and glycolipids. In a 2007 animal study, South African scientists found consumption of red palm oil significantly protected the heart from the adverse effects of a high-cholesterol diet. Since the mid-1990s, red palm oil is cold-pressed and bottled for use as cooking oil and blend into mayonaise and salad oil. It also gives an attractive colour to french fries. Red palm oil antioxidants like tocotrienols and carotenes are also fortified into foods for specific health use and anti-aging cosmetics. In a 2004 joint-study between Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research and Malaysian Palm Oil Board, the scientists found cookies, being higher in fat content than bread, are better providers of red palm oil phytonutrients. In a 2009 study, scientists in Spain tested the acrolein emission rates from red palm and olive oils, were much lower than that of poly-unsaturated oils like sunflower. The total carotenoid content of red palm oil, 480 mg/L, makes it perfect for developing functional foods round the world and gives the oil a high oxidative stability and long shelf life. Sensory tests have shown that red palm oil french fries were scored positively by regular consumers. The color was initially considered unusual and got low scores. However, when the flavor was evaluated red palm oil fries got higher scores than olive or sunflower fries. Red palm oil generated lower amounts of toxic volatiles, acrolein, than sunflower and is an excellent source carotenoids.
Bleached, Deodorized Palm Oil
Palm oil products are made using milling and refining processes: first using fractionation, with crystallization and separation processes to obtain solid (stearin), and liquid (olein) fractions. By melting and degumming, impurities can be removed and then the oil filtered and bleached. Next, physical refining removes smells and coloration, to produce refined bleached deodorized palm oil, or RBDPO, and free sheer fatty acids, used as an important raw material in the manufacture of soaps, washing powder and other hygiene and personal care products. RBDPO is the basic oil product which can be sold on the world's commodity markets, although many companies fractionate it out further into palm olein, for cooking oil, or other products. Splitting of oils and fats by hydrolysis, or under basic conditions saponification, yields fatty acids, with glycerin (glycerol) as a byproduct. The split-off fatty acids are a mixture of fatty acids ranging from C4 to C18 depending on the type of oil/fat. Uses Resembling coconut oil, palm kernel oil is packed with myristic and lauric fatty acids and therefore suitable for the manufacture of soaps, washing powders and personal care products. Lauric acid is very important in soap making. A good soap must contain at least 15 per cent laurate for quick lathering while soap made for use in sea water is based on virtually 100 per cent laurate. Biodiesel,
biomass and biogas
Palm oil, like other vegetable oils, can be used to create biodiesel for internal combustion engines. Biodiesel has been promoted as a form of biomass that can be used as a renewable energy source to reduce net emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Therefore, biodiesel is seen as a way to decrease the impact of the greenhouse effect and as a way of diversifying energy supplies to assist national energy security plans. Palm is also used to make biodiesel, as either a simply-processed palm oil mixed with petrodiesel, or processed through transesterification to create a palm oil methyl ester blend which meets the international EN 14214 specification, with glycerin as a byproduct. The actual process used varies between countries and the requirements of different export markets. Nextgeneration biofuel production processes are also being trialled in relatively small quantities. The IEA predicts that biofuels use in Asian countries will remain modest. But as a major producer of palm oil, the Malaysian government is encouraging the production of biofuel feedstock and the building of biodiesel plants that use palm oil. Domestically, Malaysia is preparing to change from diesel to bio-fuels by 2008, including drafting legislation that will make the switch mandatory. From 2007, all diesel sold in Malaysia must contain 5% palm oil. Malaysia is emerging as one of
the leading biofuel producers with 91 plants approved and a handful now in operation, all based on palm oil. On 16 December 2007, Malaysia opened its first biodiesel plant in the state of Pahang, which has an annual capacity of 100,000 tonnes and also produces by-products in the form of 4,000 tonnes of palm fatty acid distillate and 12,000 tonnes of pharmaceutical grade glycerine. Neste Oil of Finland plans to produce 800,000 tonnes of biodiesel per year from Malaysian palm oil in a new Singapore refinery from 2010, which will make it the largest biofuel plant in the world, and 170,000 tpa from its first second-generation plant in Finland from 2007-8, which can refine fuel from a variety of sources. Neste and the Finnish government are using this paraffinic fuel in some public buses in the Helsinki area as a small scale pilot. Some scientists and companies are going beyond using palm fruit oil and are proposing to convert fronts, empty fruit bunches and palm kernel shells harvested from oil palm plantations into renewable electricity, cellulosic ethanol, biogas, biohydrogen and bioplastic. Thus, by using both the biomass from the plantation as well as the processing residues from palm oil production (fibers, kernel shells, palm oil mill effluent), bioenergy from palm plantations can have an effect on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Examples of these production techniques have been registered as projects under the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism. By using palm biomass to generate renewable energy, fuels and biodegradable products, both the energy balance and the greenhouse gas emissions balance for palm biodiesel is improved. For every tonne of palm oil produced from fresh fruit bunches, a farmer harvests around 6 tonnes of waste palm fronds, 1 tonne of palm trunks, 5 tonnes of empty fruit bunches, 1 tonne of press fiber (from the mesocarp of the fruit), half a tonne of palm kernel endocarp, 250 kg of palm kernel press cake, and 100 tonnes of palm oil mill effluent. Oil palm plantations incinerate biomass to generate power for palm oil mills. Oil palm plantations yield large amount of biomass that can be recycled into medium density fibreboards and light furniture. In efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, scientists treat palm oil mill effluent to extract biogas. After purification, biogas can substitute to natural gas for use at factories. Anaerobic treatment of palm oil mill effluent, practiced in Malaysia and Indonesia, results in domination of Methanosaeta concilii. It plays an important role in methane production from acetate and the optimum condition for its growth should be considered to harvest biogas as renewable fuel. However, regardless of these new innovations, first generation biodiesel production from palm oil is still in demand globally. Palm oil is also a primary substitute for rapeseed oil in Europe, which too is experiencing high levels of demand for biodiesel purposes. Palm oil producers are investing heavily in the refineries needed for biodiesel. In Malaysia companies have been merging, buying
others out and forming alliances in order to obtain the economies of scale needed to handle the high costs caused by increased feedstock prices. New refineries are being built across Asia and Europe. As the food vs. fuel debate mount, research direction turn to biodiesel production from waste. In Malaysia, an estimated 50,000 tonnes of used frying oils, both vegetable oils and animal fats are disposed off yearly without treatment as wastes. In a 2006 study researchers found used frying oil (mainly palm olein), after pre-treatment with silica gel, is a suitable feedstock for conversion to methyl esters by catalytic reaction using sodium hydroxide. The methyl esters produced have fuel properties comparable to those of petroleum diesel and can be used in unmodified diesel engines. A 2009 study by scientists at Universiti Sains Malaysia concluded that palm oil, compared to other vegetable oils, is a healthy source of edible oil and at the same time, available in quantities that can satisfy global demand for biodiesel. Oil palm planting and palm oil consumption circumvents the food vs. fuel debate because it has the capacity to fulfill both demands simultaneously. By 2050, a British scientist estimates global demand for edible oils will probably be around 240 million tonnes, nearly twice of 2008's consumption. Most of the additional oil may be palm oil, which has the lowest production cost of the major oils, but soya bean oil production will probably also increase. An additional 12 million hectares of oil palms may be required, if average yields continue to rise as in the past. This need not be at the expense of forest; oil palm planted on anthropogenic grassland could supply all the oil required for edible purposes in 2050.
Market According to Hamburg-based Oil World trade journal, in 2008, global production of oils and fats stood at 160 million tonnes. Palm oil and palm kernel oil were jointly the largest contributor, accounting for 48 million tonnes or 30% of the total output. Soybean oil came in second with 37 million tonnes (23%). About 38% of the oils and fats produced in the world were shipped across oceans. Of the 60.3 million tonnes of oils and fats exported around the world, palm oil and palm kernel oil make up close to 60%; Malaysia, with 45% of the market share, dominates the palm oil trade. Regional
Palm oil output in 2006
Malaysia In 2008, Malaysia produced 17.7 million tonnes of palm oil on 4.5 million hectares of land.
While Malaysia's palm oil production is less than Indonesia, it is still the largest exporter of
palm oil in the world. About 60% of palm oil shipments from Malaysia head to China, the European Union, Pakistan, United States and India. They are mostly made into cooking oil, margarine, specialty fats and oleochemicals. According to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, Malaysia is the world’s second largest palm oil producer. The report stated that the industry currently employed 570,000 people with export earnings of more than RM68bil last year, said the report. Malaysia recently in began turning up its campaign to fight misinformation against palm oil production in a series of forums in the United States. The government has pointed out to the unfair calculation of carbon emissions for palm oil based on comparisons with carbon stocks of the pristine rain forests as the starting point. Indonesia Growers in Indonesia are also increasing production of palm oil to meet the global demand spurred by biofuels, with the government looking for it to become the world's top producer of palm oil. FAO data show production increased by over 400% between 1994 - 2004, to over 8.66 million tonnes (metric). In 2007, Indonesia became the top producer of palm oil, surpassing Malaysia. In additional to servicing its traditional markets, it is looking to produce biodiesel. There are new mills and refineries being built by major local companies, such as PT. Astra Agro Lestari terbuka (150,000 tpa biodiesel refinery), PT. Bakrie Group (a biodiesel factory and new plantations), Surya Dumai Group (biodiesel refinery) and global companies such as Cargill (sometimes operating through CTP Holdings of Singapore, building new refineries and mills in Malaysia and Indonesia, expanding its Rotterdam refinery to handle 300,000 tpa of palm oil, acquiring plantations in Sumatra, Kalimantan,Indonesian Peninsula and Papua New Guinea) and Robert Kuok's Wilmar International Limited (with plantations and 25 refineries across Indonesia, to supply feedstock to new biodiesel refineries in Singapore, Riau, Indonesia, and Rotterdam). However, fresh land clearances, especially in Borneo, are contentious for their environmental impact. NGOs and many international bodies are now warning that, despite thousands of square kilometres of land standing unplanted in Indonesia, tropical hardwood forest are being cleared for palm oil plantations. Furthermore, as the remaining unprotected lowland forest
dwindles, developers are looking to plant peat swamp land, using drainage that unlocks the carbon held in their trees and begins an oxidation process of the peat which can release 5,000 to 10,000 years worth of stored carbon. Drained peat is also at very high risk of forest fire, and there is a clear record of fire being used to clear vegetation for palm oil development in Indonesia. Drought and man-made clearances have led tomassive uncontrolled forest fires over recent years, covering parts of Southeast Asia in haze and leading to an international crisis with Malaysia. These fires have been variously blamed on a government with little ability to enforce its own laws while impoverished small farmers and large plantation owners illegally burn and clear forests and peat lands in order to reap the developmental benefits of environmentally-valuable land Colombia In the 1960s about 18,000 hectares were planted with palm. Colombia has now become the largest palm oil producer in the Americas, and 35% of its product is exported as biofuel. In 2006 the Colombian plantation owners' association, Fedepalma, reported that oil palm cultivation was expanding to a million hectares. This expansion is being part-funded by the United States Agency for International Development in order to resettle disarmed paramilitary members on cultivatable land, and by the Colombian government which proposes to expand land use for exportable cash crops to 7m hectares by 2020, including oil palms. However, while Fedepalma states that its members are following sustainable guidelines, there have been claims that some of these new plantations have been appropriated on land owned by Afro-Colombians driven away through poverty and civil war, while armed guards intimidate the remaining people to depopulate the land, while coca production and trafficking follows in their wake. Other Benin Palm is native to the wetlands of Western Africa and south Benin already hosts many palm plantations. Its government's 'Agricultural Revival Programme' has identified many thousands of hectares of land as suitable for new oil palm plantations to be grown as an export crop. In spite of the economic benefits, NGOs such as Nature Tropicale claim this policy is flawed as biofuels will be competing with domestic food production in some existing prime agricultural sites. Other areas comprise peat land, whose drainage would have a deleterious environmental impact. They are also concerned thatgenetically-modified plants will be introduced for the first time into the region, jeopardizing the current premium paid for their non-GM crops. Kenya
Kenya's domestic production of edible oils covers about a third of its annual demand, estimated at around 380,000 metric tonnes. The rest is imported at a cost of around US$140 million a year, making edible oil the country's second most important import after petroleum. Since 1993 a new hybrid variety of cold-tolerant, high-yielding oil palm has been promoted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in western Kenya. As well as alleviating the country's deficit of edible oils while providing an important cash crop, it is claimed to have environmental benefits in the region, as it does not compete against food crops or native vegetation and it provides stabilisation for the soil. Ghana Ghana has a lot of palm nuts vegetation which can be build a sector of its own within the agricultural sector of the Black star region. Although Ghana has palm tree of different species ranging from local palm nuts to other species locally called agric. It is only maketised within the nation locally and other neighbouring countries. Because of low funds and other economic constraints the local farmers and traders are finding hard to cope but it is lucrative. Impacts Social Not only does the palm represent a pillar of these nations' economies but it is a catalyst for rural development and political stability. Many social initiatives use profits from palm oil to finance poverty alleviation strategies. Examples include the direct financing of Magbenteh hospital in Makeni, Sierra Leone, through profits made from palm oil grown by small local farmers,
the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance's Food Security Program, which draws on a women-run
cooperative to grow palm oil, the profits of which are reinvested in food security, or the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation's hybrid oil palm project in Western Kenya, which improves incomes and diets of local populations, to name just a few. Environmental Main article: Environmental impact of palm oil Palm oil is under increasing scrutiny in relation to its effects on the environment. Some of the impacts include deforestation, loss of biodiversity, and an increase in greenhouse gas emissions. Medical Palm oil is applied to wounds, just like iodine tincture, to aid the healing process. This is not just done for its oily qualities; like coconut oil, unrefined palm oil is supposed to have additional antimicrobial effects, but research does not clearly confirm this. Blood cholesterol controversy
The United States' Center for Science in the Public Interest said palm oil which is high in saturated and low in polyunsaturated fat, promotes heart disease. CSPI report cited research that go back to 1970 and metastudies. CSPI also said The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, World Health Organization (WHO), and other health authorities have urged reduced consumption of palm oil. WHO states there is convincing evidence that palmitic acid consumption contributes to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. A 2005 research in Costa Rica suggests consumption of non-hydrogenated unsaturated oils over palm oil. In a response to the WHO's 2002 draft report, Dr. David Kritchevsky of The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia highlighted there are no data showing palm oil consumption causing atherosclerosis. When palm oil was charged in public advertisements as being an underlying cause of heart disease in the United States, the FDA said that there was so little palm oil in the American diet that its putative effects were not worth pursuing. Atherosclerosis is a disease of multi-factorial etiology. While saturated fats contribute to atherosclerosis risks, palm oil is not the sole dietary source of saturated fat, even in Asia. Dietary palm oil raises cholesterol levels only if dietary cholesterol intake exceeds 250-300 mg/day. Similarly, Malaysia's Institute for Medical Research's head of Cardiovascular Disease Unit Cardiovascular, Diabetes and Nutrition Centre Dr Tony Ng Kock Wai highlighted the cholesterol impact of saturated fats is affected by its amount at the sn-2 position. Despite the high palmitic acid content (41%) of palm oil, only 13-14% is present at the sn-2 position. He expressed surprise that WHO/FAO Expert Group concerned has chosen to ignore this. Comparison with animal saturated fat Not all saturated fats are equally cholesterolemic. Palmitic acid does not behave like other saturated fats, and is neutral on cholesterol levels because it is equally distributed among the three “arms” of the triglyceride molecule. Studies have indicated that palm oil consumption reduces blood cholesterol when compared to other sources of saturated fats like coconut oil, dairy and animal fats. Diets incorporating palm oil do not raise plasma total and LDL cholesterol levels to the extent expected from its fatty acid composition. Palm oil, although high in saturated fats, behaves as healthful as olive oil in being cholesterol neutral because the high concentrate of oleic fatty acid at sn-2 position expresses monosaturates character. In 1996, Dr Becker of University of Massachusetts stressed that saturated fats in the sn–1 and -3 position of triacylglycerols exhibit different metabolic patterns due to their low absorptivity. Dietary fats containing saturated fats primarily in sn–1 and -3 positions (e.g., cocoa butter, coconut oil, and palm oil) have very different biological consequences than those fats in which the saturated
fats are primarily in the sn–2 position (e.g., milk fat and lard). Differences in stereospecific fatty acid location should be an important consideration in the design and interpretation of lipid nutrition studies and in the production of specialty food products. Dr German and Dr Dillard of University of California and Nestle Research Center in Switzerland, in their 2004 review, highlighted research on how specific saturated fats contribute to coronary artery disease and on the role each specific saturated faty acid plays in other health outcomes is not sufficient to make global recommendations for all persons to remove saturated fats from their diet. No randomized clinical trials of low-fat diets or low-saturated fat diets of sufficient duration have been carried out. There is a lack of knowledge of how low saturated fat intake can be without the risk of potentially deleterious health outcomes. The influence of varying saturated fatty acid intakes against a background of different individual lifestyles and genetic backgrounds should be the focus in future studies. Palm oil's natural mix of antioxidants and balanced composition of fatty acids, makes it a safe, stable and versatile edible oil with many positive health attributes. The idea of which foods, nutrients and supplements are "healthy" is often being amended as new scientific data is presented and then simplified for the consumers. What was once perceived as a healthy diet is often no longer considered as such and vice versa. Dietary recommendations change with time and evidence available.
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Economical history of palm oil
The economical history of the Palm Oil began in the rain forests of Western Africa in the late 19th century. Since its introduction into Malaysia in the early 20th century until the early 60s, its impact on the economy was marginal. For many years the economy of Malaysia had depend for its wealth & prosperity upon Rubber. In 1961, Malaysia embarked on an intensive agriculture diversification program, and the crop that has achieved the most notable success since then is Palm Oil. Within a relatively short period, Malaysia become the world's largest commercial producer & exporter of Palm Oil in 1966. Diversification into Palm Oil means that the country is now less dependent on the fortunes of Rubber as a plantation crop. The year 1974 marked the beginning of a succession of refineries which were set up trough out the country. Within 2 years, a total of 15 refineries were in operation, making Malaysia the Palm Oil refining country in the world. Today, 3 decades after the interception of the Palm Oil refining industry, refined & process Palm Oil accounts for almost 90% of the total Palm Oil exports. The rapidly increasing Palm Oil refining & fractionation capacity consolidated Malaysia's position not only as a leading producer, but also as a major marketing factor in the national trades of Oil & Fats. This position has been achieved trough, among other factors, stringent observance of quality control & the capacity of local refiners to meet the high standards demanded by the world market. Much of the success of the of the industry was contributed by the fact that it was possible to open market which were once dominated by other vegetable Oil & Fats. However, there is now a marked shift of concentrations away of the industrialized countries to the non-traditional or developing countries such as India, Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Several Latin American & African countries are also buyers of Malaysian Palm Oil. Currently, there are 46 refineries in operation. A majority of the operating refineries are in one way or another associated with Palm Oil plantation & milling sectors or both. Some of the refineries have also tied up with manufacturers of specialties products & oleo chemicals.
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NEW DELHI: With crude palm oil (CPO) price hitting a record, leading Malaysian companies are stepping up overseas ventures. The latest is MM Vitaoils Sdn Bhd, which is considering a hefty venture in India.
The edible oil specialist said it was prepared to invest RM163mil to take its downstream activities to India, which is now emerging as a major edible oil consumer in the world.
“We are planning to duplicate our successful downstream activities in palm oil industries in India. It will involve an estimated US$50mil,” Vitaoils general manager (operations) Dina Talib told the Press Trust of India.
“Having our own CPO will result in us building our refinery as well in India,” Dina said.
Besides buying an edible oil refinery in India, she said the company would consider a joint venture with a local partner for its India plans.
India is a leading buyer of CPO from Malaysia, with about 500,000 tonnes imported annually, largely for its own downstream activities.
CPO prices are hovering at about RM3,500 per tonne in the global market and Malaysia is second largest palm oil exporter in the world, with 15.82 million tonnes last year.
With its expansion, Vitaoils will join the list of leading Malaysian plantation companies that are slowly breaking into the India market and subsequently looking at the populous South Asian region, with nearly 1.3 billion people.
The Shah Alam-based Vitaoils, with over 20 brand names under its belt, mainly for cooking oil, vegetable ghee and margarine, has expanded its export base to West Asia, Europe and Africa. – Bernama
Tagged as: CPO, Crude Palm Oil, Europe, India, Malaysia, Palm Oil, Plantation
Malaysia likely to set up palm oil refineries in India
REPORTS FROM THE MPOB INTERNATIONAL PALM OIL CONGRESS (PIPOC) 2005
Ruchi Ahuja / Kuala Lumpur September 28, 2005
Fast losing market share and favourable tariffs on crude palm seen as trigger. Malaysia is considering is considering helping private palm oil players to set up refineries in India as tariff duty towards exports (to India) of crude palm oil is cheaper vis-à-vis refined oils. The move is also aimed at tackling the country’s fast depleting market share in the Indian palm oil market. “Malaysian palm oils now merely constitute 40 per cent of the total exports to India,” said Y B Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui, the Malaysian minister of plantation industries and commodities on the sidelines of the MPOB International Palm Oil Congress (PIPOC). “We have been unable to do much about it. The Indian market has a tariff differential in favour of soyoils, thereby, making palm oils exports less profitable.” Globally, while palm oils are cheaper vis-à-vis soyoil, India’s duty tariff differential in favour of the latter makes imports (of the latter) cheaper and thereby holds a pivotal position in governing edible oil prices. “Further, we are also losing our market share to Indonesia largely owing to their fast rising production and lower rates,” he said.. Indonesia is soon likely to surpass Malaysia to become the world’s number one producer of palm oil. While industry analysts (at the GLOBOIL2005 in Mumbai) were expecting that to happen over 5-6 years, the Malaysian minister feels it likely to be in less than five years. “They have more land and they are fast increasing the plantation areas so they will soon surpass us in production,” the minister said. Putting a figure of 800,000 hectares to the Malaysian’ privately-owned plantations in Indonesia (out of the total 4 million hectares), the minister said, “This figure is likely to go nowhere but up.” Malaysia intends to
become a market leader in value-added high quality palm oil products. “That will be the focus area for us.” Industry experts feel that under this focus area, India is likely to be a major export market for Malaysia following the former’s preference to crude products vis-à-vis the refined.
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