After extracting the palm oil and palm kernel oil from the palm seeds, what remains would usually consist of both liquid and solid residues. These solid residues are known as palm kernel cakes or more commonly known as empty fruit bunches (EFB). EFB can also regarded as a bio waste of palm oil production and the typical management of these residues might prove to be a primary cause of concern for millers due to the volume and costs involved.
EFB provide a wide variety of uses for both farming, agricultural and production purposes. The typical palm kernel cake left over from palm seeds are a good source of food for ruminants due to is high protein content. EFB fibres also provide a wide range of benefits. They can be used as mulching material for landscaping as well as young plants and seedlings. EFB fibres can also be used as raw material to manufacture composite boards and as pulp to manufacture paper. Sometimes they can also be used as filler materials for pipes and conduits. Last but not least, EFB have also been widely used as composting material for biomass boilers to generate electricity.
The use of EFB in biomass composting has been widely advocated as an environmental friendly alternative of generating electricity. EFB is a common raw material for composting. After extracting the oil from the palm fruit, on average the EFB would compose roughly 20% of the overall fruit weight. Therefore for large scale palm oil processing, a fairly large amount of EFB would be expected to be left over for further uses. Besides EFB, other materials added into composting include chicken manure and POME. EFB is usually mixed with 20% chicken manure at regular monthly intervals, with an estimated time taken to reach maturity of four months. Maturity of the mix depends on the heap temperature stabilization of 30°C and also monitoring the moisture level of the mix while it disintegrates. Maintaining moisture levels are important, which is why the EFB is shredded into uniform sizes and lengths with an EFB shredder before throwing into the mix. The whole process of composting EFB is semi mechanized and done in the open. The EFB is passed through a hammer mill, collected by tractors and piled in windrows. Chicken manure is then added and mixed in by a mechanical implement which straddles and moves along the windrow. Water is added to maintain moisture levels to prevent the loss of added nutrients.
As mentioned above, an EFB shredder is used to cut the EFB into uniform sizes to ensure that moisture is not lost during the composting process. EFB shredders can also be known as EFB Break Cutter cum Oil Extractor or Size Reduction Break Cutter. Loss of too much moisture would make the material crystalline. Besides ensuring moisture levels, shredded EFB is also used to extract any leftover oils from the fruit residue to maximize production efficiency. Shredded EFB is also used to produce EFB fibres for an assortment of purposes.
Muar Ban Lee (MBL) group is well known for dealing with EFB management. An efficient EFB processing technology is useful to minimize volume and cost issues. MBL provides a wide range of EFB shredders and EFB break cutters for proper EFB handling and management.