After more than two decades of dedicated research in developing bio-polyols from natural oils and oleochemicals, Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB)’s researchers have established more than ten new types of palm-based polyols for application in polymers, specifically polyurethanes which are environmentally friendly.
The developed palm-based polyols are such as the Pioneer series or palm olein-based polyols, fatty acid-based polyol, used cooking oil-based polyol, PolyFAME series or fatty acid methyl ester-based polyols, acylated epoxidized palm oil polyol and co-polymers polyol.
To enhance its research on polyol, MPOB has established three pilot plants with the capacity of 150 litres, 500 litres and 1000 litres to produce palm-based polyols. MPOB has invested about RM2 million for the three pilot plants.
MPOB invites players in the polyol and polyurethane industries to use its polyol pilot plants facilities located at the MPOB head office for pre-commercial trials and research and development (R&D) purposes.
“The pilot plants have been receiving encouraging response from players. Among the players who have used the facilities at the three pilot plants include Magnechem Sdn Bhd, Rovski Sdn. Bhd, Rokisar Sdn. Bhd., Techbond Greentech Sdn. Bhd. and German-Malaysia Institute,” said Director-General of MPOB Datuk Dr. Ahmad Parveez Hj Ghulam Kadir.
According to him, industry players should explore the polyol pilot plants which are well-equipped with facilities to produce not only palm-based polyols but other products as well such as epoxidized palm oil and dihydroxy stearic acid (DHSA).
The three pilot plants offer facilities including reactants feed tanks, two main reactors for the epoxidation and alcoholises reactions, settling tank and drying vessel.
The utilities supporting the pilot plant is a cooling tower, hot water boiler, heating oil system and air compressor. Each of the reactors, tanks and vessel are equipped with a motor stirrer.
“The polyol pilot plant facilities at MPOB are capable of producing a maximum of 80% of the total capacity (1650 litres) for all of the three plants,” he added.