Pyrolysis Products from Residues of Palm Oil Industry

  • Melisa Bertero
  • Juan Rafael García
  • Marisa Falco
  • Ulises SedranEmail author
  • Khoirun Nisa Mahmud
  • Suzami Junaidah Ariffin
  • Ani Idris
  • Zainul Akmar Zakaria
Part of the Applied Environmental Science and Engineering for a Sustainable Future book series (AESE)


Palm kernel shell (PKS) and empty fruit bunches, both raw (EFB-R) and pretreated by means of autoclaving (EFB-A) and microwave (EFB-M), were pyrolyzed in a fixed-bed stainless steel reactor at 550 °C. The yield of the water-soluble liquid fraction (pyroligneous acid, PA) in the pyrolysis of PKS was 26%wt. (dry basis) and in the range of 16–46%wt. when different EFB were used. The yield of insoluble liquid fraction (bio-oil, BO) was 9.1%wt. for PKS and up to 25%wt. in the case of EFB. Liquid and gaseous products were analyzed by conventional capillary gas chromatography. The PA from the PKS had 30%wt. of total phenolic compounds (up to 24%wt. phenol) and 46%wt. acetic acid. On the other hand, the bio-oil from PKS had 43%wt. of total phenolic compounds (up to 26%wt. phenol) and 17%wt. acetic acid. The PA from EFB contained mainly acetic acid (65.5%wt.), furfural (7.7%wt.), methanol (8.0%wt.), and phenol (15.2%wt.). When EFB was pretreated, the concentration of acetic acid in PA decreased dramatically, while the concentration of furfural increased up to ten times, this effect being more noticeable in the case of microwave pretreatment. The yields of by-products were of significance in all cases (13–23%wt. of gases and 33–52%wt. of char). These results show that the liquid products obtained from the pyrolysis of palm oil industrial wastes could be used in order to obtain chemical raw materials of worldwide extended use, while the by-products (gases and char) can be used as renewable energy sources.


Palm kernel shell Empty fruit bunch Pyrolysis Pyroligneous acid Bio-oil Phenolic compounds 



This work was performed with the financial assistance of Universidad Nacional del Litoral (Santa Fe, Argentina), Secretary of Science and Technology, Proj. CAID 2011 #501-201101-00546LI; Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET, PIP 593/13), and the CONICET-UTM bilateral international cooperation project. The authors also acknowledge Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) for the Flagship Grant (03G44) and Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme to Teo Chee Loong, Ministry of Education Malaysia for the MyPhD scholarship to Khoirun Nisa Mahmud, and Public Service Department for the King’s scholarship to Suzami Junaidah Ariffin.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melisa Bertero
    • 1
  • Juan Rafael García
    • 1
  • Marisa Falco
    • 1
  • Ulises Sedran
    • 1
    Email author
  • Khoirun Nisa Mahmud
    • 2
  • Suzami Junaidah Ariffin
    • 2
  • Ani Idris
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zainul Akmar Zakaria
    • 3
  1. 1.Instituto de Investigaciones en Catálisis y Petroquímica “Ing. José Miguel Parera” (INCAPE) (UNL – CONICET)Santa FeArgentina
  2. 2.Institute of Bioproduct DevelopmentUniversiti Teknologi MalaysiaJohor BahruMalaysia
  3. 3.Department of Bioprocess Engineering & Institute of Bioproduct Development, Faculty of Chemical and Energy EngineeringUniversiti Teknologi MalaysiaJohor BahruMalaysia

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