Critical parameters for integrating co-composting of POME and EFB into life cycle assessment models of palm oil production.

Victor Baron, Mohamed Saoud, Joni Jupesta, Ikhsan Rezky Praptantyo, Hartono Tirto Admojo, Cécile Bessou, Jean-Pierre Caliman


Palm oil mill’s co-products (empty fruit bunch – EFB and palm oil mill effluent – POME) management is a matter of concern in Indonesia. Co-composting is a promising waste management practice that would allow a reduction of environmental impact and a restitution of organic matter to the soil. This study is a part of a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) project and aims to pinpoint the most environmentally impacting compartments of the palm oil production chain. It deals more specifically with the Life Cycle Inventory of data on the composting process based on site specific data. Data on the recycled biomass, energy demand and yielded compost properties were recorded in an industrial palm oil mill over one year. Due to the local conditions, high nutrient leaching from the compost were recorded and the compost remained very wet and hot (thermophilic phase). The composting process only led to 40% of methane avoidance compared to anaerobic digestion of POME, and the global nutrient recovery efficiency was below 50%. We identified the following critical parameters to increase environmental benefits from composting:      i) the POME/FFB ratio from the mill ii) the roofing of the composting platform, iii) the POME/EFB ratio, iv) the turning frequency, v) the recycling of leachates and vi) the process duration and drying period. The nutrient recovery and the doses of compost applied in the field depend on all of those inter-connected parameters. The data presented will be used within LCA models to assess net environmental benefits from various POME and EFB co-composting systems.


Baharuddin AS, Hock LS, Yusof MZ, Rahman NAA, Shah UK, Hassan MA, et al. Effects of palm oil mill effluent (POME) anaerobic sludge from 500 m 3 of closed anaerobic methane digested tank on pressed-shredded empty fruit bunch (EFB) composting process. Afr J Biotechnol. 2010;9(16):2427–2436.

Francou C. Stabilisation de la matière organique au cours du compostage de déchets urbains: Influence de la nature des déchets et du procédé de compostage-Recherche d’indicateurs pertinents. INAPG (AgroParisTech); 2003.

Abd El Kader N, Robin P, Paillat J, Leterme P. Turning, compacting and the addition of water as factors affecting gaseous emissions in farm manure composting. Bioresour Technol. oct 2007;98(14):2619‑28.

Oudart D. Modélisation de la stabilisation de la matière organique et des émissions gazeuses au cours du compostage d’effluents d’élevage. Toulouse, INSA; 2013

Ceglie FG, Adbelrahman HM. Ecological intensification through nutrients recycling and composting in organic farming. In: Composting for sustainable agriculture. Springer. Dinesh K. Maheshwari; 2014. p. 2‑22. (Sustainable development and biodiversity).

Bernal MP, Paredes C, Sanchez Monedero M., Cegarra J. Maturity and stability parameters of composts prepared with a wide range of organic wastes. Bioresour Technol. 1998;63:91‑9.

Thuriès L, Pansu M. Classification et modélisation de la décomposition d’apports organiques dans un sol sableux. 2002 [cité 26 févr 2016]; Disponible sur:

Schuchardt F, Wulfert K, Herawan T. Effect of new palm oil mill processes on the EFB and POME utilization. J OIL PALM Res. 2008;12.

Abu Zahrim Y, Asis T. Production of non shredded empty fruit bunch semi-compost. 2010 [cité 7 avr 2016]; Disponible sur:

Ahmad MN, Mokhtar MN, Baharuddin AS, Hock LS, Ahmad Ali SR, Abd-Aziz S, et al. Changes in physicochemical and microbial community during co-composting of oil palm frond with palm oil mill effluent anaerobic sludge. BioResources. 2011;6(4):4762‑80.

Baharuddin AS, Kazunori N, Abd-Aziz S, Tabatabaei M, Abdul Rahman NA, Hassan MA, et al. Characteristics and microbial succession in co-composting of oil palm empty fruit bunch and partially treated palm oil mill effluent. Open Biotechnol J. 2009;3:92–100.

Baharuddin AS, Wakisaka M, Shirai Y, Abd-Aziz S, Abdul Rahman NA, Hassan MA. Co-Composting of Empty Fruit Bunches and Partially treated Palm Oil Mill Effluent in Pilot Scale. Int J Agric Res. 2009;4(2):69‑78.

Mohammad N, Alam MZ, Kabashi NA. Development of composting process of oil palm industrial wastes by multi-enzymatic fungal system. J Mater Cycles Waste Manag. sept 2013;15(3):348‑56.

Goenadi D., Away Y, Sukin Y, Yusuf H., Gunawan, Aritonang P. Pilot-Scale composting of empty fruit bunches of oil palm using lignocellulosic composting. In IOPRI Proceedings; Bali; 1998 .

Hock LS. Physicochemical changes in windrow co-composting process of oil palm mesocarp fiber and palm oil mill effluent anaerobic. Austalian J Basic Appl Sci. 2009;3(3):2809‑16.

Salètes S, Siregar FA, Caliman J-P, Liwang T. Ligno-cellulose composting: Case study on monitoring oil plam residuals. Compost Sci Util. 2004;12(4):p.372-382.

Suhaimi and Ong. Composting Empty Fruit Bunches of Oil Palm [Internet]. Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI). 2001 [cité 4 mars 2016].

Schuchardt F, Balcke S, Becker F, Guritno P, Herawan T, Darnoko, et al. Production of compost from EFB. In: Proceedings of the 2000-II IOPRI Oil Palm Technical Meeting. Medan: Indonesian Oil Palm Research Institute; 2000.

Schuchardt F, Darnoko D, Guritno P. Composting of empty oil palm fruit bunch (EFB) with simultaneous evaporation of oil mill waste water (POME). In: Proceedings of International Oil Palm Conference. Bali, Nusa Dua; 2002.

Thambirajah J., Zulkali M., Hashim M. Microbiological and biochemical changes during the composting of oil palm empty-fruit-bunches. Effect of nitrogen supplementation on the substrate. Bioresour Technol. 1995;(52):133‑44.

Yahya A, Sye CP, Ishola TA, Suryanto H. Effect of adding palm oil mill decanter cake slurry with regular turning operation on the composting process and quality of compost from oil palm empty fruit bunches. Bioresour Technol. nov 2010;101(22):8736‑41.

Tohiruddin L, Foster HL. Superior effect of compost derived from palm oil mill by-products as a replacement for inorganic fertilisers applied to oil palm. J Oil Palm Res. 2013;25(1):123–137.

Darmosarkoro W, Sutarta E. Application of EFB compost on acidic soil in North Sumatra to increase soil bases and decrease aluminum. In: Enhancing oil palm industry development through environmentally friendly technology. Bali, Indonésie; 2002.

Supriatna J, Baron V, Sadasiban R, Bonneau X. Composting For Sustainable Palm Oil Production. In Nusa Dua; 2018.

Carron MP, Pierrat M, Snoeck D, Villenave C, Ribeyre F, Suhardi, et al. Temporal variability in soil quality after organic residue application in mature oil palm plantations. Soil Res [Internet]. 2015 [cité 17 sept 2015]; Disponible sur:

Tao H-H, Slade EM, Willis KJ, Caliman J-P, Snaddon JL. Effects of soil management practices on soil fauna feeding activity in an Indonesian oil palm plantation. Agric Ecosyst Environ. févr 2016;218:133‑40.

Bessou C, Chase LDC, Henson IE, Abdul-Manan AFN, Milà i Canals L, Agus F, et al. Pilot application of PalmGHG, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil greenhouse gas calculator for oil palm products. J Clean Prod. 2014;73:136‑45.

Reijnders L, Huijbregts MAJ. Palm oil and the emission of carbon-based greenhouse gases. J Clean Prod. mars 2008;16(4):477‑82.

Madaki YS, Seng L. Pollution Control: How Feasible is Zero Discharge Concepts in Malaysia Palm Oil Mills. Am J Eng Res. 2013;14.

Wood BJ, Pillai KR, Rajaratnam JA. Palm oil mill effluent disposal on land. Agric Wastes. 1979;1(2):103–127.

Stichnothe H, Schuchardt F. Comparison of different treatment options for palm oil production waste on a life cycle basis. Int J Life Cycle Assess. nov 2010;15(9):907‑15.

Wu TY, Mohammad AW, Jahim JM, Anuar N. A holistic approach to managing palm oil mill effluent (POME): Biotechnological advances in the sustainable reuse of POME. Biotechnol Adv. janvier;27(1):40‑52.

Harsono SS, Grundmann P, Soebronto S. Anaerobic treatment of palm oil mill effluents: potential contribution to net energy yield and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from biodiesel production. J Clean Prod. 1 févr 2014;64:619‑27.

Chin MJ, Poh PE, Tey BT, Chan ES, Chin KL. Biogas from palm oil mill effluent (POME): Opportunities and challenges from Malaysia’s perspective. Renew Sustain Energy Rev. oct 2013;26:717‑26.

Wiloso EI, Bessou C, Heijungs R. Methodological issues in comparative life cycle assessment: treatment options for empty fruit bunches in a palm oil system. Int J Life Cycle Assess. févr 2015;20(2):204‑16.

Singh R, Ibrahim M, Esa N, Iliyana M. Composting of waste from palm oil mill: a sustainable waste management practice. Rev Environ Sci Biotechnol [Internet]. 2010 [cité 15 mars 2010]; Disponible sur:

Singh RP, Embrandiri A, Ibrahim MH, Esa N. Management of biomass residues generated from palm oil mill: Vermicomposting a sustainable option. Resour Conserv Recycl. févr 2011;55(4):423‑34.

Caliman J-P, Daniel C, Tailliez B. La nutrition minérale du palmier à huile. Plant Rech Dév. 14 avr 1994;1(3):36‑54.

Stichnothe H, Bessou C. Challenges for Life Cycle Assessment of Palm Oil Production System. 2017;9.

Baron V, Supriatna J, Maréchal C, Sadasiban R, Bonneau X. Waste reduction and nutrient recovery efficiency during the co- composting of empty fruit bunches and palm oil mill effluent. In: Proceeding of International Palm Oil Conference. Under Review. .

Stichnothe H, Schuchardt F. Life cycle assessment of two palm oil production systems. Biomass Bioenergy. oct 2011;35(9):3976‑84.

Chiew YL, Shimada S. Current state and environmental impact assessment for utilizing oil palm empty fruit bunches for fuel, fiber and fertilizer – A case study of Malaysia. Biomass Bioenergy. avr 2013;51:109‑24.

Yacob S, Hassan MA, Shirai Y, Wakisaka M, Subash S. Baseline study of methane emission from open digesting tanks of palm oil mill effluent treatment. Chemosphere. juin 2005;59(11):1575‑81.


Copyright © IJoLCAS (e-ISSN: 2548-804X)
Publisher: ILCAN (Indonesian Life Cycle Assessment Network) and LIPI (Indonesian Institute of Sciences)