Palm oil is one of the most important agroindustries in Malaysia. Huge quantities of palm oil mill effluent (POME) pose a great threat to aqueous environment due to its very high COD. To make full use of discharged wastes, the integrated "zero discharge" pilot-scale industrial plant comprising "pretreatment-anaerobic and aerobic process-membrane separation" was continuously operated for 1 year. After pretreatment in the oil separator tank, 55.6% of waste oil in raw POME could be recovered and sold and anaerobically digested through 2 AnaEG reactors followed by a dissolved air flotation (DAF); average COD reduced to about 3587 mg/L, and biogas production was 27.65 times POME injection which was used to generate electricity. The aerobic effluent was settled for 3 h or/and treated in MBR which could remove BOD3 (30°C) to less than 20 mg/L as required by Department of Environment of Malaysia. After filtration by UF and RO membrane, all organic compounds and most of the salts were removed; RO permeate could be reused as the boiler feed water. RO concentrate combined with anaerobic surplus sludge could be used as biofertilizer.
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