Prototype of a panel made of recycled oil palm revealed at LIGNA 2017. The research project was a collaboration between Malaysia and Germany’s universities as well as companies Jowat, Minda Industrieanlagen, Möhringer, Leitz, Oberkochen, Boehlerit and Palmwood R+D, Freiburg.
Rather than discarding them, unused oil palm stems can be recycled into useful products such as plywood, chipboard and wood-plastic composites. In 2017, these products contributed 29 per cent of Malaysia’s total timber exports.
This is a valuable but largely underutilised raw material, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Mah Siew Keong said. He was commenting at the opening of the Fibre and Biocomposite Centre (Fidec 3) and Furniture Durability Testing Laboratory at the Olak Lempit furniture complex in Banting.
Fidec 3, an initiative of the Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB), provides testing services to the industry and higher learning institutions as well as aiding in the commercialisation of biocomposite products.
In Malaysia,some 5.7 million hectares of oil palm estates undergo replanting after 25 years. Annually there are between 80,000 ha and 100,000 ha of oil palm plantations felled yielding around 18 million palm stems.