A Brief Review of Physico-Chemical Treatment Techniques for Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME)

Main Article Content

Juliana Jumadi
Azlan Kamari*
Nurulsaidah Abdul Rahim
Is Fatimah
Adulsman Sukkaew


It is known that palm oil is one of the top selling raw materials that are widely used in both food and non-food industries. It is also widely used as a feedstock for biofuel production. However, the palm oil industry produces a huge amount of effluent that normally contains undesirable contaminants and suspended solids (SS), with high chemical oxygen demand (COD) and biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) values. Hence, it is imperative to ensure the sustainable management of palm oil production and to prevent serious environmental pollution. Various techniques are available to treat palm oil mill effluent (POME). This review summarizes the compilation of articles published in the period of 2010 to 2020 that focused on the development of treatment techniques for POME. Academic databases including Scopus, ScienceDirect, Web of Science, and PubMed were used to search for related articles. This review discusses the performance and highlights the optimum operating conditions for each chemical treatment technique. This review is not only relevant to researchers who work on the advancement and innovation of remediation technologies for POME, but it is also significant for researchers who deal closely with environmental pollution, water resource management.

Keywords: oil palm; palm oil mill effluent; wastewater treatment; water treatment technologies; environmental pollution

*Corresponding author: Tel.: (+60)1548797320

                                             E-mail: azlan.kamari@fsmt.upsi.edu.my


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

Review Ariticle


Woittiez, L.S., van Wijk, M.T., Slingerland, M., van Noordwijk, M. and Giller, K.E. 2017. Yield gaps in oil palm: A quantitative review of contributing factors. European Journal of Agronomy, 83, 57-77.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 2021. World Agricultural Production. [online] Available at: https://www.fas.usda.gov/data/world-agricultural-production

Shahrifun, N.S.A., Ab’lah, N.Z., Hussain, H., Aris, A., Omar, Q. and Ahmad, N. 2015. Characterization of palm oil mill secondary effluent (POMSE). Malaysian Journal of Civil Engineering, 27(1), 144-151.

Poh, P.E, Yong, W.J and Chong, M.F. 2010. Palm oil mill effluent (POME) characteristic in high crop season and the applicability of high-rate anaerobic bioreactors for the treatment of POME. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 49(22), 11732-11740.

Aris, N.S.M., Ibrahim, S., Arifin, B. and Hawari, Y. 2017. Effect of operating parameters on decolourisation of palm oil mill effluent (pome) using electrocoagulation process. Pertanika Journal of Science & Technology, 25(S), 197-206.

Jumadi, J., Kamari, A., Hargreaves, J.S.J. and Yusof, N. 2020. A review of nano-base materials used as flocculants for water treatment. International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, 17, 3571-3594.

Jagaba, A.H., Kutty, S.R.M., Hayder, G., Latiff, A.A.A., Aziz, N.A.A., Umaru, I., Ghaleb, A.A.S., Abubakar, S., Lawal, I.M. and Nasara, M.A. 2020. Sustainable use of natural and chemical coagulants for contaminants removal from palm oil mill effluent: A comparative analysis. Ain Shams Engineering Journal, 11(4), 951-960.

Hossain, M.S., Omar, F., Asis, A.J., Bachmann, R.T., Sarker, M.Z.I. and Kadir, M.O.A. 2019. Effective treatment of palm oil mill effluent using FeSO4.7H2O waste from titanium oxide industry: Coagulation adsorption isotherm and kinetics studies. Journal of Cleaner Production, 219, 86-98.

Noor, M.H.M., Ngadi, N. and Luing, W.S. 2018. Synthesis of magnetic cellulose as flocculant for pre- treatment of anaerobically treated palm oil mill effluent. Chemical Engineering Transactions, 63, 589-594.

Noor, M.H.M., Ngadi, N., Inuwa, I.M., Opotu, L.A. and Nawawi, M.G.M. 2020. Synthesis and application of polyacrylamide grafted magnetic cellulose flocculant for palm oil wastewater treatment. Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering, 8(4), 104014.

Zahrim, A.Y., Dexter, Z.D., Joseph, C.G. and Hilal, N. 2017. Effective coagulation-flocculation treatment of highly polluted palm oil mill biogas plant wastewater using dual coagulants: Decolourisation, kinetics and phytotoxicity studies. Journal of Water Process Engineering, 16, 258-269.

Harif, T., Khai, M. and Adin, A. 2012. Electrocoagulation versus chemical coagulation: Coagulation/flocculation mechanisms and resulting floc characteristics. Water Research, 46(10), 3177-3188.

Nasrullah, M., Singh, L., Krishnan, S., Sakinah, M., Mahapatra, D.M. and Zularisam, A.W. 2020. Electrocoagulation treatment of raw palm oil mill effluent: Effect of operating parameters on floc growth and structure. Journal of Water Process Engineering, 33, 101114.

Nasrullah, M., Zularisam, A.W., Krishnan, S., Sakinah, M., Singh, L. and Fen, Y.W. 2019. High performance electrocoagulation process in treating palm oil mill effluent using high current intensity application. Chinese Journal of Chemical Engineering, 27(1), 208-217.

Nasrullah, M., Singh, L., Krishnan, S., Sakinah, M. and Zularisam, A.W. 2018. Electrode design for electrochemical cell to treat palm oil mill effluent by electrocoagulation process. Environmental Technology & Innovation, 9, 323-341.

Nwabanne, J.T., Oguegbu, O.O. and Agu, C.M. 2018. Removal of solids from palm oil mill effluent and paint wastewater using electrocoagulation technique. International Journal of Electrochemistry, 2018:4349639.

Bashir, M.J., Lim, J.K., Amr, S.S.A., Wong, L.P. and Sim, Y.L. 2018. Post treatment of palm oil mill effluent using electro-coagulation-peroxidation (ECP) technique. Journal of Cleaner Production, 208, 716-727.

Patel, M., Patel, J., Pawar, Y., Patel, N. and Shah, M. 2020. Membrane-based downhole oil–water separation (DOWS) technology: an alternative to hydrocyclone-based DOWS. Journal of Petroleum Exploration and Production Technology, 10, 2079-2088.

Amat, N.A.A., Tan, Y.H., Lau, W.J., Lai, G.S., Ong, C.S., Mokhtar, N.M., Sani, N.A.A., Ismail, A.F., Goh, P.S., Chong, K.C. and Lai, S.O. 2015. Tackling colour issue of anaerobically-treated palm oil mill effluent using membrane technology. Journal of Water Process Engineering, 8, 221-226.

Ho, K.C., Teow, Y.H. and Mohammad, A.W. 2019. Optimization of nanocomposite conductive membrane formulation and operating parameters for electrically-enhanced palm oil mill effluent filtration using response surface methodology. Process Safety and Environmental Protection, 126, 297-308.

Zangeneh, H., Zinatizadeh, A.A. and Zinadini, S. 2020. Self-cleaning properties of L-Histidine doped TiO2-CdS/PES nanocomposite membrane: Fabrication, characterization and performance. Separation and Purification Technology, 240, 116591.

Subramaniam, M.N., Goh, P.S., Sevgili, E., Karaman, M., Lau, W.J. and Ismail, A.F. 2020. Hydroxypropyl methacrylate thin film coating on polyvinylidene fluoride hollow fiber membranes via initiated chemical vapor deposition. European Polymer Journal, 122, 109360.

Ahmad, A.L, Chong, M.F. and Bhatia, S. 2009. A comparative study on the membrane based palm oil mill effluent (POME) treatment plant. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 171(1-3), 166-174.

Anwar, F. and Arthanareeswaran, G. 2019. Silver nano-particle coated hydroxyapatite nano-composite membrane for the treatment of palm oil mill effluent. Journal of Water Process Engineering, 31, 100844.

Zangeneh, H., Zinatizadeh, A.A., Zinadini, S., Feyzi, M. and Bahnemann, D.W. 2018. A novel photocatalytic self-cleaning PES nanofiltration membrane incorporating triple metal-nonmetal doped TiO2 (K-B-N-TiO2) for post treatment of biologically treated palm oil mill effluent. Reactive and Functional Polymers, 127, 139-152.

Said, M., Ahmad, A., Mohammad, A.W., Nor, M.T.M. and Abdullah, S.R.S. 2015. Blocking mechanism of PES membrane during ultrafiltration of POME. Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry, 21, 182-188.

Linden, K.G. and Mohseni, M. 2015. Advanced oxidation processes: applications in drinking water treatment. In S. Ahuja (Ed.), Comprehensive Water Quality and Purification. Waltham: Elsevier. pp 148-172.

Kanakaraju, D., Ahmad, N.L.B., Sedik, N.B.M., Long, S.G.H., Guan, T.M. and Chin, L.Y. 2017. Performance of solar photocatalysis and photo-fenton degradation of palm oil mill effluent. Malaysian Journal of Analytical Sciences, 21(5), 996-1007.

Ng, K.H. and Cheng, C.K. 2016. Photo-polishing of POME into CH4-lean biogas over the UV-responsive ZnO photocatalyst. Chemical Engineering Journal, 300, 127-138.

Ng, K.H., Cheng, Y.W., Khan, M.R. and Cheng, C.K. 2016. Optimization of photocatalytic degradation of palm oil mill effluent in UV/ZnO system based on response surface methodology. Journal of Environmental Management, 184, 487-493.

Charles, A., Khan, M.R., Ng, K.H., Wu, T.Y., Lim, J.W., Wongsakulphasatch, S., Witoon, T. and Cheng, C.K. 2019. Facile synthesis of CaFe2O4 for visible light driven treatment of polluting palm oil mill effluent: Photokinetic and scavenging study. Science of the Total Environment, 661, 522-530.

Cheng, C.K., Derahman, M.R. and Khan, M.R. 2015. Evaluation of the photocatalytic degradation of pre-treated palm oil mill effluent (POME) over Pt-loaded titania. Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering, 3(1), 261-270.

Cheng, C.K., Deraman, M.R., Ng, K.H. and Khan, M.R. 2016. Preparation of titania doped argentum photocatalyst and its photoactivity towards palm oil mill effluent degradation. Journal of Cleaner Production, 112, 1128-1135.

Cheng, Y.W., Chang, Y.S., Ng, K.H., Wu, T.Y. and Cheng, C.K. 2017. Photocatalytic restoration of liquid effluent from oil palm agroindustry in Malaysia using tungsten oxides catalyst. Journal of Cleaner Production, 162, 205-219.

Chin, Y-H., Sin, J-C. and Lam, S-M. 2018. A facile route for fabrication of hierarchical porous Nb2O5/ZnO composites with enhanced photocatalytic degradation of palm oil mill effluent. Materials Letters, 216, 8-11.

Sin, J-C., Chin, Y-H. and Lam, S-M. 2019. WO3/Nb2O5 nanoparticles-decorated hierarchical porous ZnO microspheres for enhanced photocatalytic degradation of palm oil mill effluent and simultaneous production of biogas. Key Engineering Materials, 821, 379-385.

Subramaniam, M.N., Goh, P.S., Lau, W.J., Ng, B.C. and Ismail, A.F. 2018. AT-POME colour removal through photocatalytic submerged filtration using antifouling PVDF-TNT nanocomposite membrane. Separation and Purification Technology, 191, 266-275.

Ghazali, S., Jusoh, R. and Shariffuddin, J.H. 2019. Parameter affecting photocatalytic degradation of POME using LaCa as photocatalyst. Materials Today: Proceedings, 19, 1173-1182.

Cuerda-Correa, E.M., Alexandre-Franco, M.F. and Fernández-González, C. 2020. Advanced oxidation processes for the removal of antibiotics from water. An overview. Water. 12, 102.

Ahmad, A. 2019. Effect of ozonation on biodegradation and methanogenesis of palm oil mill effluent treatment for the production of biogas. Ozone Science & Engineering, 41(5), 427-436.

Chaiprapat, S. and Laklam, T. 2011. Enhancing digestion efficiency of POME in anaerobic sequencing batch reactor with ozonation pretreatment and cycle time reduction. Bioresource Technology, 102(5), 4061-4068.

Facta, M., Salam, Z., Buntat, Z. and Yuniarto, A. 2010. Silent discharge ozonizer for colour removal of treated palm oil mill effluent using a simple high frequency resonant power converter. 2010 IEEE International Conference on Power and Energy, 39-44.

Pisutpaisal, N., Tanikkul, P. and Phoochinda, W. 2014. Improvement of mesophilic biohydrogen production from palm oil mill effluent using ozonation process. Energy Procedia. 50, 723-728.

Tanikkul, P., Boonyawanich, S. and Pisutpaisal, N. 2019. Production of methane from ozonated palm oil mill effluent. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 44(56), 29561-29567.

Zhang, M., Dong, H., Zhao, L., Wang, D. and Meng, D. 2019. A review on Fenton process for organic wastewater treatment based on optimization perspective. Science of the Total Environment, 670, 110-121.

Bello, M.M., Raman, A.A.A. and Asghar, A. 2019. A review on approaches for addressing the limitations of Fenton oxidation for recalcitrant wastewater treatment. Process Safety and Environmental Protection, 126, 119-140.

Lim, C.H., Ang, J.J., Lau, S. and Tay, M.G. 2017. Optimization of hydroxyl radical production using electro-Fenton method for chemical oxygen demand reduction in diluted palm oil mill effluent. Water and Environment Journal, 31(4), 578-583.

Gamaralalage, D., Sawai, O. and Nunoura, T. 2019. Degradation behavior of palm oil mill effluent in Fenton oxidation. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 364, 791-799.

Saeed, M.O., Azizli, K.A.M., Isa, M.H. and Ezechi, E.H. 2016. Treatment of POME using Fenton oxidation process: removal efficiency, optimization, and acidity condition. Desalination and Water Treatment 57(50), 23750-23759.

Zaied, B.K., Nasrullah, M., Siddique, M.N.I., Zularisam, A.W., Singh, L. and Krishnan, S. 2020. Enhanced bioenergy production from palm oil mill effluent by co-digestion in solar assisted bioreactor: Effects of hydrogen peroxide pretreatment. Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering, 8(2), 103551.