Biogas Generated from Palm Oil Mill Effluent for Rural Electrification and Environmental Sustainability

  • Lee Ming Kwee
  • Haslenda Hashim
  • Hoo Poh Ying
  • Ho Wai Shin
  • Nor Alafiza Yunus
  • Lim Jeng Shiun


Electricity is a catalyst for sustainable economic development. Electricity supplied by the national electricity grid is not accessible in remote areas and therefore alternative energy supply is highly needed for rural electrification. In Malaysia, 809 out of more than 10,000 schools had no access to 24-h electricity supply. Extension of grid electricity networks becomes uneconomical because of the geographical conditions of remote areas and the low electrical energy density demand of the population. Malaysia is the second biggest producer of palm oil in the world along with the palm oil mill effluent that can be converted to become a reliable energy source. The biogas generation from palm oil mill effluent (POME) in the rural areas could be effectively exploited to provide alternative source of energy for rural electrification. Currently, off-grid solar PV is used for providing alternative power in remote area due to the abundant solar energy resource in the region. Biogas from POME has mostly been used as fuel for on-site heating and power purposes. However, most of the palm oil mills in Malaysia produce more biogas than on-site demand. Due to logistic issue between biogas resource availability and its demand, biogas compression in gas cylinders is proposed for easy transportation in rural area. This paper presents a spatial optimisation approach for systematic design of biogas generated from POME for rural electrification. In this case study, alternative power from biogas generated from palm oil mill is pressurised up to 80 - 100 bar using compressor to run a gas engine coupled to a generator. Electricity generated from compressed biogas provide a better economic advantage and supply a more stable and sustainable energy source and could overcome the issue of intermittent resource of solar energy.
How to Cite
Kwee L., Hashim H., Ying H., Shin H., Yunus N., Shiun L., 2017, Biogas Generated from Palm Oil Mill Effluent for Rural Electrification and Environmental Sustainability , Chemical Engineering Transactions, 61, 1537-1542.