Palm Oil Engineering Bulletin No.78 (Jan - Mar 2006) p11-17
POME biogas capture, upgrading and utilization
TONG, S. L. , A BAKAR Jaafar

A complete-mix flow-through, closed-tank anaerobic digester system for the generation and capture of methane for palm oil mill effluent (POME), which has been in continuous operation for over 20 years is described. The system was designed for a POME flow of 400 m3 day-1, including the juice from the pressing of empty fruit bunches, and a hydraulic retention time of 18 days. With COD loading in the range of 2.6-3.5 kg m-3 day-1, biogas yield of about 11 000 m3day-1and a relatively consistent composition of 62 .5% CH4, 37% CO2 and 1500 – 3000 ppmv H2S has been maintained throughout the operation of the system. The biogas generated has practically been fully utilized as a boiler fuel for an oil refinery with in the industrial complex. This paper also discusses the prospects of new technologies for the upgrading of POME biogas to the equivalent quality as compressed natural gas for vehicle use. Through the development of the new dimensions in POME biogas utilization and support from CDM carbon assets creation, it is anticipated that significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the palm oil mill sector will be realized.

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