Integrated wastewater treatment solutions provider Ronser Bio-Tech Sdn Bhd is in talks with home-grown palm oil players to commercialise its wastewater treatment technology for use in palm oil mills to effectively treat palm oil mill effluent (POME) for a cleaner discharge.
Ronser chairman Woo Min Fong said she sees vast potential in marketing the environmental friendly technology as Malaysia is the world’s second-largest producer of the commodity after Indonesia.
“Currently, we have received good response from our Indonesian counterparts. They are eager to adopt this technology as it substantially reduces sludge quantities and handling cost.
“We are hoping to secure business soon, especially since we are the only company to deal with this technology.
“We still continue our research and development in the area of sewerage system using the biological process despite the difficulties in convincing industries of our technology” said Woo in a news conference in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, yesterday.
She did not reveal details on the companies that Ronser is negotiating with.
Woo said an average of about 1.5 cum of water is reportedly needed to process one tonne of fresh oil palm fruits.
Half of this liquid ends up as POME.
POME comprises watersoluble components of palm fruits as well as suspended materials such as fibre and oil residues.
While biodegradable, POME is acidic and has an extremely high biochemical oxygen demand (BOD).
BOD is the amount of dissolved oxygen needed by organisms in a body of water to break down the organic material present.
A high value indicates organic pollution, which decreases oxygen supply and negatively affects aquatic life.
“Previously, partially treated or even raw POME was discharged into rivers which resulted in environmental concerns. Our system is capable of producing biogas from up to 28 cum of POME and treat wastewater from the second last pond of palm oil mills to reach BOD20, which is the discharge standard to be introduced by the Department of Environment in 2017,” said Woo.
Ronser has a wastewater management centre in Labu, Negri Sembilan, that was built using a RM1.68 million grant given by BiotechCorp in 2009 via a collaboration with the Malaysian Palm Oil Board.
The centre uses patented technologies developed by Prof Zhang Zhen Jia of the Shanghai Jiaotong University.
Meanwhile, Ronser is currently working on the Mass Bio-System (MBS), which is a new biological product that removes ammonia to 0.5ppm in drinking water, below the standard of 1.5ppm ammonia content stipulated by the World Health Organisation.
“The effectiveness of MBS is now being tested in treating the drinking water to 0.5 parts per million (ppm), jointly in a hospital with Asia Water Business Consultant LLP Japan. We will be producing MBS in our factory in the Iskandar region soon.
“This invention will revolutionise the ammonia treatment technology and we are also introducing the application of MBS into the aquaculture and agriculture,” she said.
Earlier, Woo on behalf of Ronser inked a memorandum of understanding with University of Southampton to collaborate on the development of food waste to Bio-CNG (compressed natural gas) to provide the design for the system.
“The signing is a follow-up of a recent signing in October this year where Ronser, as the system provider, had collaborated with Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), Iskandar Regional Development Authority and Gait Rungkai Sdn Bhd to set up a five tonne plant in UTM campus in Johor,” she said.