In 2015, ISCC and the oil refining company Neste initiated a joint environmental study project in palm oil mills. The project aimed to scientifically verify greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions of a promising new effluent treatment method. Since the conventional wastewater treatment is a significant source of GHG emissions, both parties anticipated substantial climate potential of the innovative method. The so-called belt filter press separates organic matter from the wastewater and thereby removes the root causes of methane emissions in the mill effluent. The research project took place in palm oil mills of the Malaysian palm oil company KLK (Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad) and was funded by the Dutch sustainable trade organisation IDH. The sustainability consulting company Meo Carbon Solutions conducted the field work.
As the now published research results show, the belt filter press leads to 50% GHG emission reduction in palm oil mills and therefore offers great environmental potential. Furthermore, the investment costs of the belt filter press are significantly lower than those of methane capture methods.
To this day, KLK has already installed 29 belt filter presses; another two are currently in the process of installation. “For us at KLK, sustainability is an ongoing journey and we have always been exploring ways to continuously improve our waste management. We are pleased that this study reaffirms our belief in our methods and scientifically verifies that our efforts in reducing GHG emissions in our operations are able to drive positive change – for us as a corporation and for the industry. This will spur us further on to think out of the box, to optimise our operation efficiency, to test innovations and to improve our sustainability performance,” said Tan Sri Lee Oi Hian, Chief Executive Officer of KLK. “We would also like to thank all parties involved in this study, who made it possible for us to deliver these results.”