Palm oil mills are prevalent across a large amount of the tropics. They can have a high environmental footprint if the facility is not sustainably managed. Palm oil mill effluent (POME) originates from the pressing of the palm fruit and clarification of the oil. If untreated POME is a significant environmental pollutant.
By processing POME in anaerobic digesters, the biological and chemical oxygen demand of the effluent can be reduced the output cleaned for sustainable discharge and re-use of the resulting water. An output of anaerobic digesters is biogas, a renewable fuel which can be used in a gas engine for the local supply of electricity and heat or can be cleaned using a biogas upgrader to produce pure methane.
If the gas engine is configured for the recovery of heat (combined heat and power), then recovered heat energy can be used in the process for drying or sterilisation.