Innovation of Empty Fruit Bunches Into Components in Electronic Screens
Along with the times, technology has also developed. We can find various kinds of electronic equipment with various functions that can help our daily work. These various electronic devices were created to make life easier and more comfortable.
Even since the Covid-19 pandemic and the implementation of social activity restriction policies by the Indonesian government, such as working and studying from home, it also has implications for the increasing demand for gadget devices such as laptops, tablets, or smartphones. Based on the International Data Center (IDC), in the second quarter of 2020 there was an 18.6 percent increase in demand for computers and laptops with 38.6 million units shipped. The increase also occurred in the growth of the tablet device market, which increased by 26 percent. Sales of cheap smartphones in Indonesia have increased as a result of Long-Distance Learning activities carried out by students from kindergarten/early childhood, elementary, junior high, high school to university levels.
Not only during the Covid-19 Pandemic like today, the increase in demand for gadgets and other electronic is estimated to increase every year. Because these products has become a primary need for people, both people who live in urban or rural areas. Therefore, an increase in demand for electronic products will also have implications for an increase in demand for raw materials (derived demand) to produce these products. One component/raw material is the screen.
So far, screens on electronic devices that are commonly found on the market are made of glass so they have a weakness, like easy to crack and break when they fall. In addition, there are also screens which are made from polymer substrates, in which it is more flexible. However, this type of screen still uses ingredients from petrochemicals, so that it cannot be renewed and is not environmentally friendly.
Along with increasing consumer awareness of environmental sustainability, this also has an impact on the increasing demand for products/components in electronic products that have eco-friendly component, raw materials, for example reused waste or recycled waste.
One of the wastes that can be used as screens on electronic devices is oil palm empty fruit bunches. The latest innovation from the development of this product for electronic screens was discovered by researchers from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), namely Dr. Athanasia Amanda Septevani. In her research, empty fruit bunches were originally only used for the energy sector, but this biomass or waste can also be developed into economic value products for the technology sector into component of electronic screens.
Dr. Amanda used nanotechnology to extract cellulose from empty fruit bunches waste to be processed into nanocellulose. Besides empty palm fruit bunches, there are also other materials that can be used, such as grass, cotton, wood, or algae, but oil palm empty bunches have their own uniqueness, namely the hemicellulose content which is lower than other materials.
The cellulose fibers can be processed to be used as a matrix for biopolymers in transparent optical products that can be utilized as transparent optoelectronic display devices such as flexible screen products, touch screens and solar energy devices.
In that study, cellulose empty fruit bunches was isolated and chemically processed into nanocellulose which was later converted into a thin transparent sheet known as a nanopaper. The nanopaper based on palm biomass can later be used as an electronic screen, from cellphones, laptop screens to TV screens.
When compared to conventional electronic screens, electronic screens made from palm oil-based nanocellulose have many advantages, besides being environmentally friendly as well as being able to answer the challenges of electronic screens that are not easily broken. This shows evidence that oil palm has a million potential to produce high-quality derivative products.
With this innovation research, it is hoped that it can motivate the Indonesian electronic device industry to produce its own electronic screens product that utilizes oil palm empty fruit bunches, which is very widely available domestically at a cheaper price. Thus, Indonesian electronic industry can fulfill global market needs for eco-friendly and sustainable electronic products.
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