Palm oil is widely used in the manufacture and production of food and cosmetics ranging from instant noodles to lipstick. This edible vegetable oil is also used to a lesser extent in biofuel production. Today, world production of palm oil and palm kernel oil is around 50 million tonnes per annum.
But, palm oil production attracts criticism the world over. Deforestation and the destruction of natural habitats, such as tropical rain forests, are some of the detrimental effects of palm oil plantations.
Palm oil has some very desirable properties, including an exceptionally high melting point and high saturation levels, so it’s easy to see why the palm oil industry isn’t slowing down, despite environmental and sustainability issues.
Two biotechnology companies are joining forces to build a world-first renewable chemical manufacturing plant in Nusajaya, Iskandar, Malaysia.
The plant is said to be the first-of-its-kind; a bio-based plant that will produce 30 million pounds of diacids, including dodecanedioic acid (DDDA), each year.
Verdezyne, an American industrial biotechnology company that works to develop technologies to create a positive impact on the environment, has partnered with Bio-XCell, a Malaysian biotechnology park and ecosystem facility aiming to position Malaysia as a world leading biotech location.
So, through their partnership, Verdyzyne has leased 6.9 acres of land at the biotechnology park and secured a loan from Bio-XCell of RM 250 million (or UK £49 million) to build their plant.
It’s generally well-known that relationships and how we work with our partners and stakeholders is important in the modern business world. Indeed, many organisations in the chemical and process industries have large PR machines and lobbies to represent their interests.
Of course, at IChemE, we do the same, but in a much smaller way. And as president of the Institution of Chemical Engineers it is my pleasure and privilege to represent the profession and meet a great range of people nearly every day.
Do you find it hard to explain what you do and why it’s important? It’s a common problem and even the best communicators struggle to convey the science, complexity, scale and even the products we make – industrial or for consumers.
However, it was great to see a project this week in Malaysia where students from the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia took a mobile mini biodiesel reactor into the streets to help the general public’s understanding of biodiesel. It’s the type of initiative that fits perfectly with the ChemEng365 campaign.