A waste product of crude palm oil is grossly under-explored despite it having the potential to electrify the energy-poor rural villages and prevent further deforestation in Indonesia.
Palm oil is the wonderstuff of fats. It makes our cookies crunchier, shampoo bubblier and lipstick smoother, all for a fraction of the price of other oils. However, a recent media storm has cast a shadow on the industry. Headlines have exposed the mass deforestation at the hands of palm oil production, and all the gory social and environmental issues that come with it.
To add to the fire, the two biggest exporters of palm oil—Malaysia and Indonesia—are currently battling to overturn an EU ruling to phase out palm oil as a bioenergy source by 2030. The European bloc came to its decision after palm oil overshot its 10 per cent limit on environmental compromises, by an additional 35 per cent, according to a report. Has the EU ruled too soon?
In the race to make palm oil production more equitable and environmentally friendlier, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) has explored the use of its waste product as bioenergy.