Bioenergy Research Group

This research group consist of four different sub-research areas; Bioethanol, Biobutanol, Biohydrogen and Biogas. Apparently, our collaborative research focusing on the utilization of agriculture residual substrates which are palm oil mill effluent (POME), food waste, oil palm empty fruit bunch OPEFB, rice straw, palm decanted cake, sago starch, or dubbed as biomass, to be converted into bioenergy product through biotechnology and bioprocess engineering.

Currently, there are six PhD students, 15 Master students and three research assistant under this group and registered either with UPM or Kyushu Institute of Technology, Japan. The group members engaged in different research area encompasses the production of bioenergy products, pretreatment of lignocellulosic materials, celluase production, kinetic study of cellulase producer microorganism. On other hand, the group also involved in downstream processing and basic molecular biotechnology-based.

The current studies revealed the feasibility of utilizing palm oil mill’s residual and other related biomass, for beneficial bioenergy products such as methane, ethanol, butanol and hydrogen by using our own indigenous technology. The consolidated collaborative work will prove that our indigenous home-grown technology could bring the bioenergy products to our doorknob in near future.

Numbers
20

Bioenergy Members

42

Journal Published

Research Areas

Improve Methane Fermentation from Palm Oil Mill
Residuals in line with of Zero Emission Strategy

The research involves in the treatment of organic rich wastewater such as POME. The activities include: biogas production from decanted POME using 50 liters closed digester tank and appropriate treatment of palm oil mill final discharge wastewater as recycled water for the mill to replace fresh river water, in line with our objective of zero emission for the palm oil mill. The treated wastewater could be further polished to a standard that is suitable for recycling purpose so that minimal river water is needed and reduce the dependency on river water intake.
(see figure 1)

The Future Renewable Bioenergy from Waste
and Biomass Materials

Biological production of hydrogen using microorganisms offers the potential production of usable hydrogen from a variety of renewable resources such as agricultural or food industry wastes. One of the important factors governing the hydrogen conversion is process engineering, such as bioreactor design and operating parameters. Improving reactor design and optimizing the operating parameters, such as pH, temperature, hydraulic retention time, and mixing effect, could enhance the biohydrogen conversion efficiency. In the study, we are focusing on the production of biohydrogen from POME and food waste as substrate. A few parameters have been studied, aiming to enhance the process of biohydrogen production to obtain an in-depth understanding of the process in lab and pilot scale, respectively.
(see figure 2)

Lignocellulosic Materials: Potential Substrate
for Production of Bioethanol

Our research is focused on enzymes and bioethanol production from the biomass and other waste products. Bioethanol production from renewable biomass (lignocellulosic biomass) is an alternative way for producing energy source. Lignocellulose can be utilized to its full potential as an alternative cheap substrate through efficient conversion via chemical and/or biological processes. The bioconversion processes involve the use of both physical and chemical methods where the hemicellulose fraction of a lignocellulosic material will be separated by a thermo-chemical treatment prior to use of enzymes to convert the cellulose fraction to glucose. Pretreatment of lignocellulosic material is really important in order to remove lignin and increase the accessibility of the enzyme to attack the substrate. Steam, chemical, grinding and disk milling are the several pretreatments that have been used in our lab.
(see figure 3)

Production of Biobutanol from Agricultural Biomass

This progressive subgroup focus on the production of biobutanol oil palm empty fruit bunches (OPEFB), oil palm decanted cake (OPDC), rice straw and sago pith residue by locally isolated microorganisms. Clostridium sp. used to utilize the lignocellulose in the biomass to produce butanol from acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE fermentation) in anaerobic condition. Five main steps used which start with pretreatment of biomass, cellulases enzyme production, enzymatic hydrolysis, production and recovery biobutanol. Biobutanol is efficient and suitable for replacing petrol as fuel in gasoline engines. Utilization of the lignocelluloses biomass by the production of biobutanol is one of the alternative ways to reduce the amount of by-product towards the zero emission programs in agricultural industry.
(see figure 4)

Biogas Commercial Scale Plant

Biogas Commercial Scale Plant

Bioenergy Collaborations
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