JOURNAL MONITOR EDITION 20 : SPENT BLEACHING EARTH (SBE), THE HIDDEN TREASURE FROM WASTE OF THE PALM OIL REFINERY PLANT
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The use of Bleaching Earth in the CPO refining process aims to remove sap, heavy metals, and absorb colour pigments in palm oil. In addition to producing RBDPO and PFAD, this process also produces solid waste, namely Spent Bleaching Earth (SBE) containing metal material and oil residues. Although metal content in SBE not classified as heavy metals and palm oil residues in SBE in large amounts/quantities, becomes an argument that the waste is a hazardous waste category that is considered to have a risk of explosion, flammability, reactive, infectious, corrosive and toxic. So based on Government Regulations 101/2014, these SBE wastes are classified as category 2 of hazardous and toxic waste from specific specific sources with code B413.
Given the large volume of SBE waste and classified as hazardous and toxic waste, and become the problems faced by the palm cooking oil industry. The development of SBE waste management industries that have licenses in Indonesia are still very lower. This is causes a pile up of SBE waste. The SBE stockpile also has the potential to create legal risks both for the refinery industry (and downstream industry) and waste management service providers, if the waste is only left on open land.
On the other hand, research on the use of SBE is widely carried out. Various studies have resulted in a conclusion that SBE is an input that can be used for a variety of products that have high economic value. Although categorized as hazardous and toxic waste, SBE processing using Solvent Extraction technology can produce Recovered Oil (R-Oil) and De-oiled Bleaching Earth (De-Obe) products that can be used as raw materials.
R-Oil is used as a feedstock for biodiesel and lubricants/biolubrikan. Meanwhile, De-OBE can be used as raw material for construction/building materials (concrete, cement and brick), bio-organic fertilizer, NPK fertilizer and animal feed. De-OBE products are also recycled and produce Bleaching Earth/RBE Reactivation for BE substitution in the CPO refining process.
The development of eco-friendly and sustainable product markets should be able to be an incentive for SBE processing industries and industries that use SBE as production inputs in Indonesia. Therefore, government regulations/policies are needed as an incentive for investors to develop SBE processing industries in Indonesia, especially in the oil palm center region. So that the industry is expected to produce a large multiplier effect for the regional economy as well as opportunities for the palm oil industry to become a green industry.