A precise story about vital palm oil
by NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK / photo by TMR FILE
THE narrative that oil palm areas are expanding at the expense of climate and biodiversity is wrong, and a full inventory of resources, sinks and flows is needed to restore the narrative and dignity of the golden harvest of Malaysia.
Dr Gary W Theseira, senior researcher at the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia, said the dominant narrative surrounding the palm oil industry is that it is both land and labor intensive. work, and frequently associated with indirect land use change (ILUC).
“The narrative needs to be corrected as there is ample evidence that the palm oil industry actually facilitates climate action and enables the transition by reducing emissions associated with mobility, thwarting ILUC as a source of non-arborescent and non-forest fibers.
“It will also green the network while optimizing fixed assets and reducing organic waste emissions,” he said in a conference titled “How the integration of resource management in the industry of palm oil can shape a global consensus on the sustainability of the humble palm oil ‘yesterday.
Theseira said the industry’s diverse resource base requires assessment across traditional sector lines used as the basis for government institutional frameworks.
He added that existing research and ongoing initiatives already indicate the significant capacity of the current hectare of oil palms to provide low-emission solid and liquid fuels, non-forest and non-wood pulp and paper, and sub. -products for recycling that significantly impact greenhouse gas emissions, and meet and exceed ILUC criteria.
In recent years, developed countries and trading blocs have implemented product seizures and unilateral carbon border adjustments using “carbon-free economies” as a pretext.
In 2020 and 2021, for example, the United States implemented a detention order on crude palm oil from two of Malaysia’s largest palm oil producers, as well as shipments of nitrile gloves from from Malaysia.
Theseira said the industry has the potential to replace environmentally harmful energy.
“The first area of resources is the use of fatty acid methyl ester (FAME), which is used successfully as a base fluid for high performance petroleum-based drilling fluid.
“Just by looking at FAME production in 2020, we can compare it to the required equivalent of fossil diesel, which is 465,887 tonnes of CO2 emissions for 9.54 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.
Another resource in which industry can be useful is pulp and paper, thereby reducing potential land use.
Theseira said the industry has long been recognized as a potential source of fiber for other industries.
“Potential products that have been tested and can be manufactured include fiberboard, core board, pulp and paper. He added that the substitution of resources made it possible to avoid the felling of 144,000 trees by using palm oil as a source of fiber.
Palm oil can also be used for biomass or renewable energy initiatives, greening networks for all users.
“Taking into account the 30,200 gigawatts per hour generated in Peninsular Malaysia in 2018, a 5% substitution for biofuels would result in an estimated emission reduction of 498,300 tonnes.
“Every coal-fired power station in Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak can be reached within 30 to 45 minutes at one or more palm oil mills. “
The final resource area in which palm oil can play a role is the livestock feed production space.
Currently, Malaysia’s livestock industry needs around four million tons of animal feed imported from South America each year.
“This means there are emissions from transport and production, but Malaysia is also exposed to supply and price uncertainties.”
He added that substituting protein foods from locally produced skins with imported foods will cut costs and reduce climate risks.
This can be done by recycling technologies already used to produce animal feed, including biodigester and entoculture technologies that use palm oil by-products co-processed with other by-product streams. organic.