Engineering HDR Seminar Series 23, 2012: Enhancement on Anaerobic Digester of Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME) for Methane Gas Capture

Ms Chin May Ji, CSPE postgraduate student

Date: 2012-12-05
Time: 10:00 to 11:00
Venue: Engineering Meeting Room 1, 5-4-22


The palm oil industry in Malaysia has grown rapidly in recent years and has become one of the largest contributors to the MalaysianGross National Income (GNI). However, the vast generation of the highly polluting palm oil mill effluent (POME) alongside with the production of crude palm oil has often created a negative image to the palm oil mill industry. On the other hand, POME with its high organic matter content is in fact a good feedstock for biogas production, thus transform it from an environment pollutant to a valuable source of renewable energy. As one of the top producers of palm oil in the world, Malaysia is well positioned to take advantage of the abundant availability of the POME for methane production. Most studies conducted on anaerobic treatment of POME previously were based on a single-phase anaerobic system where all the biochemical reactions take place in only one reactor. However, the single-phase reactors have low tolerance to shock loading and hence prone to process failure during high organic loading rate. This problem is due to the higher kinetic growth rate of acidogenic bacteria compared to methanogenic bacteria which subsequently led to accumulation of intermediates products such as volatile fatty acids which cause inhibition to the process. Therefore, the acidogenic and methanogenic phase need to be balanced to avoid process failure. Two-phase anaerobic digestion (TPAD) is proposed in this study to boost the methane production from anaerobic digestion of POME and increase stability of the process due to improved control of the process in each phase. The main objective of this research is to develop a TPAD system for POME treatment with the aims to enhance the process stability and to increase the methane production from POME. Optimization and effects of the operating parameters on the performance of acidogenic reactor and methanogenic reactor will be investigated in this study.

About the Speaker

Ms Chin May Ji graduated from University Putra Malaysia (UPM) with Bachelor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (Honours) in year 2009. She joined Monash University for postgraduate studies in year 2011 under the supervision of Prof. Dr Tey Beng Ti and Dr Poh Phaik Eong. Her research in Monash University is focused on the development of  two-phase anaerobic digester for palm oil mill effluent (POME) treatment.