Options for Environmental Sustainability of the Crude Palm Oil Industry in Thailand through Enhancement of Industrial Ecosystems

O. Chavalparit, W.H. Rulkens, A.P.J. Mol, S. Khaodhair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

123 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The crude palm oil industry plays an important role in the economic development of Thailand and in enhancing the economic welfare of the population. Despite obvious benefits of this industrial development, it also significantly contributes to environmental degradation, both at the input and the output sides of its activities. On the input side, crude palm oil mills use large quantities of water and energy in the production process. On the output side, manufacturing processes generate large quantities of wastewater, solid waste/by-products and air pollution. Current industrial wastes and recoverable materials are empty fruit bunches, fibers, shells and ash. It is estimated that in 2003, a total of 2.1 million ton of solid wastes/by-products and 2.5 million m3 of wastewater were generated. The concept of the industrial ecosystem points at the potential of industrial waste recycling resembling food chains, food webs and nutrient cycles of nature. Following the notion of industrial ecology crude palm oil mills can develop a number of waste recycling and reuse systems. This paper analyzes the nature of these industrial ecosystems, divided in in-plant ecosystems (clean technology options) and external waste exchange between crude palm oil industries and other economic activities in Thailand.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-287
JournalEnvironment, Development and Sustainability
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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