Engineering HDR Seminar Series 7, 2012: Photocatalytic Treatment of Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME)

Mr Teh Chee Yang, CSPE postgraduate student

Date: 2012-05-07
Time: 15:00 to 16:00
Venue: Meeting Room 5-4-22


Palm oil industry is one of the leading agriculture industries in Malaysia and in 2011, total production of crude palm oil reaches an all time high of about 18 million tonnes. However, this industry has been identified as one of the largest discharger of pollutants, namely palm oil mill effluent (POME), into the rivers. “Advanced Oxidation Processes (AOPs)”, which is based on the in-situ generation of highly reactive transitory species to degrade different types of pollutants, has emerged as one of the most eco-friendly and innovative water treatment technologies available. In this research, the possibility of implementing heterogeneous photocatalysis, one of the techniques in AOPs, to treat POME will be explored. In order to reduce the initial POME contaminant loading, coagulation-flocculation technique using rice starch as natural flocculant will be employed as the pre-treatment for photocatalytic process. As for photocatalysis process, novel photocatalysts will be firstly synthesized by doping TiO2 and ZnO using different metal and non-metal dopants through sonochemical method and characterized. Thephotocatalytic activity of the photocatalysts will then be explored by introducing it into the treatment process under UV or tropical sunlight irradiation. Finally, for both pre-treatment and photocatalysis process response surface methodology (RSM) will be conducted to obtain the optimized treatment parameters. Completion of the research would provide a more environmentally friendly and viable integrated treatment process to manage POME.

About the Speaker

Mr. Teh graduated with Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical Engineering with Honours) from Monash University Sunway Campus in 2011. He joined Monash University in 2011 for postgraduate studies under the supervision of Dr. Wu Ta Yeong and Dr. Juan Joon Ching. His research focuses on sustainable integrated treatment of palm oil mill effluent using heterogeneous photocatalysis with coagulation-flocculation process. The study aimed to provide an environmentally friendly and low cost alternative to replace the currently adopted ponding system in palm oil mills in Malaysia.