April 13, 2024

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UTM Vice-Chancellor Leads Research on the Development of Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME) System for Sustainable Energy Production.

JOHOR BAHRU, 21 Feb– Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) was recently awarded a five-year program beginning in 2023 by The Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS) with the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Datuk. Ir. Ts Dr Ahmad Fauzi Ismail, leading the programme.

SATREPS is a Japanese government programme that promotes international joint research and is set up as a partnership between the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and other agencies providing competitive research funds. The programme seeks to address global issues based on the needs of developing nations and provide research findings that will be useful to both local and international society.

The new programme awarded to UTM will embark on a new integrated palm oil mill effluent (POME) treatment system for resource recovery and sustainable energy production. To date, the ponding system is a common method to treat Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME) before releasing it into the river. It consists of several steps and is used by 85% of palm oil mills in Malaysia due to its low cost and availability of land. However, the final discharge still contains high levels of pollutants, making it difficult for the industry to meet environmental standards.

According to Prof Fauzi, “Climate change is a systemic problem that we need to address, and waste generated by POME is known to cause environmental pollution. The research on developing a new integrated POME treatment system for resource recovery and sustainable energy production can positively impact the environment, economy, and social development. It can help reduce environmental pollution, increase the share of renewable energy, create new economic opportunities and jobs, and improve social development in palm oil-producing communities.”

Hence, in identifying solutions to this issue, Prof Fauzi with his team of researchers will implement four sub-projects led by Prof. Ts. Dr Mohd Hafiz Dzarfan Othman, Assoc Prof Dr Juhana Jaafar and Assoc. Prof Dr Mukhlis A. Rahman from Advanced Membrane Technology Research Centre (AMTEC). The programme will also involve thirty-four researchers from different disciplines, faculties and agencies.

The programme is funded by the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) for a total amount of RM6,994,800 with matching grants from Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) amounting to RM5,755,924 and RM 9,867,299 from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

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