Clean technology for the crude palm oil industry in Thailand

O. Chavalparit

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


The aims of this study were to assess the potential contribution of clean(er) technology to improve the environmental performance of the crude palm oil industry inThailand, to analyse implementation barriers for cleaner production in crude palm oil industry, and to provide recommendations for overcoming these barriers. As such the overall aim was to generate ideas for moving the crude palm oil industry towards sustainability.In order to fulfill these research aimsdetailed case studies have been carried out on five palm oil enterprises inThailand. The differences in production processes and location have been taken as core selection criteria.The results show thatthe combination of clean technology, industrial ecology and triad network analysis seems to be a good approach in analyzing the environmental impacts from, and environmental improvements of, crude palm oil industry inThailand. Regarding the possibilities of technological improvements of the existing environmental performance of Thai crude palm oil production the application of cleaner production and industrial ecosystem approaches (based on reuse, recycling, and utilization of solids and liquid waste and appropriate energy management) proves to be useful. In this way the goal of almost zero discharge of pollutants (against acceptable costs)for crude palm oil mills situated in a plantation area can be achieved. To move Thai crude palm oil industry towards larger sustainability, the following options can be introduced: application of shell foractivated carbon; use ofempty fruit bunch for mushroom cultivation media; composting; pulp production;MDF (medium-density fiberboard)products; utilizedecanter sludge for animal feed; apply palm oil mill effluent for biogas production; and reuse treated wastewater and bottom sediment from anaerobic ponds for irrigation and as soil conditioner in plantation areas.The triad network analysis provides clear understanding of the various barriers met in the implementation of the proposed model of an almost zero waste industrial ecosystem of crude palm oil industry inThailand.Four types of barriers have been distinguished: informational barriers, cooperation barriers, price barriers and human capacity barriers. Following these barriers strategies were developed to cope with each of these barriers.Finally,by comparing the performance of the Thai crude palm oil production with the Malaysian palm oil technologies, regulatory framework and institutional arrangements it can be concluded thatThailandcan learn fromMalaysiain how the palm oil industry can move towards sustainable development. Especially legislation, facilitation and financial arrangements around clean technology research and development are key factors in explaining the success of Malaysian best practices.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Mol, Arthur, Promotor
  • Rulkens, Wim, Promotor
Award date11 Sept 2006
Place of Publication[S.l.]
Print ISBNs9789085044468
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sept 2006


  • environmental policy
  • palm oils
  • palm oil mill effluent
  • oils and fats industry
  • oils
  • waste water
  • waste water treatment
  • water pollution
  • pollution control
  • thailand
  • environmental technology


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