Integration and Optimisation of Palm Oil Sector with Multiple-Industries to Achieve Circular Economy

Jaya Prasanth Rajakal, Jason Zhao Hong Hwang, Mimi H. Hassim, Viknesh Andiappan, Qian Thong Tan, Denny K. S. Ng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A typical palm oil sector includes oil palm plantations, palm oil mills, and palm oil refineries. The sector generates a huge amount of biomass by-products, effluent, and refinery wastes. These are usually disposed of at landfills causing inefficient waste management and sustainability issues. As reported in many previoius works, palm-based biomass, palm oil mill effluent (POME) and refinery wastes can be reused or recycled within the palm oil sector. However, there are still large amounts of these which are unprocessed and disposed to landfills. To address this issue, a circular economy approach that integrates the palm oil sector with other industries is needed. This work proposes a mathematical optimisation model to determine the optimal pathway for the circularity of palm-based biomass, POME, and refinery wastes with other sectors. Paper, polymer, and furniture industries are considered to evaluate the potential of a palm-based circular economy. Besides, various biorefineries are also considered, thereby providing multiple pathways for the conversion of palm-based biomass and refinery wastes to value-added products and energy generation. The optimisation is performed under four scenarios – maximise economic potential, minimise net emissions, minimise landfill wastes, and fuzzy multi-objective. The multi-objective results show economic potential of USD 151.36 million, net emissions of −804,946.60 tCO2 and landfill waste reduction by 80.17 %. The results indicate that the polymer industry has better potential to integrate with the palm oil sector. The fuzzy optimisation has allowed to determine trade-off between landfill disposal and resource circularity to maximise the economic value and minimise carbon emissions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)318-336
Number of pages19
JournalSustainable Production and Consumption
Early online date5 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • Biorefinery
  • Circular economy
  • Fuzzy multi-objective
  • Mathematical optimisation
  • Palm oil sector

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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