Palm Oil Developments No.47 (Dec 2007) p5-9, 20-21

Quality of some fatty acids produced in Malaysia: An update

NOORAZAH Zolkarnain, MOHTAR Yusof

Today’s market is becoming more and more demanding of fatty acids with high quality. The fatty acid industry is one of those that are experiencing rapid growth in the Malaysian oil palm industry. It has expanded significantly since the first fatty acid plant was established in 1979. Nowadays, many new fatty acid plants have been built in the Southeast Asian region, using palm oil and coconut oil as the major sources of raw materials for the production of caproic to oleic acids. The export of Malaysian fatty acids has increased by five times in 10 years, from 190 178 t in 1997 to 913 283 t in 2006 (Figure 1). The value of export has also increased by six times in the same period. The export in 2006 was increased by 133 218 t or 17.1% compared to 2005. Fatty acids are the main oleochemical produced in Malaysia, comprising 42.3% of the total oleochemicals exported in 2006 (MPOB, 1998-2007). Figure 1 also shows that the trend of fatty acid export has increased year by year since 1999. Availability of raw materials and good infrastructure has turned Southeast Asia into a manufacturing hub for the fatty acid industry. Fatty acid producers in Malaysia and Indonesia are also enhancing their manufacturing capacities in response to the increasing demand.

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