Insights into the physicochemical properties of the Malaysian oil palm leaves as an alternative source of industrial materials and bioenergy


  • Emmanuel Onoja The Federal Polytechnic Nigeria
  • Nursyafreena Attan Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
  • Sheela Chandren Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
  • Fazira Ilyana Abdul Razak Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
  • Aemi Syazwani Abdul Keyon Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
  • Naji Arafat Mahat Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
  • Roswanira Abdul Wahab Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia 81310 UTM Johor Bahru, Johor Darul Ta’zim Malaysia



Physicochemical, oil pal, leaves, silica, sustainable, bioenergy,


This work was aimed at providing a comprehensive physicochemical characterization of the Malaysian oil palm leaves (OPL) that may be useful for industrial applications as well as providing new insights on minimizing the environmental impact of oil palm biomass wastes. The leaves of discarded oil palm fronds were collected, dried and ground. The leaves powder was subjected to acid and thermal treatments prior to physicochemical analyses. Physicochemical characterization included analyses of thermal gravimetry, ultimate analysis, Fourier-Transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray fluorescence, X-ray diffraction and nitrogen sorption. Ultimate analysis revealed that the untreated OPL contained carbon (46.98 %), hydrogen (6.500 %), nitrogen (1.810 %) and sulfur (0.150 %) with a moderately high calorific value of 19.21 MJ/kg. Thermal gravimetric and derivative thermal gravimetric analyses indicated that OPL is a lignocellulosic material with little moisture and ash contents.   X-ray Florescence revealed Ca (39.20 %), K (22.10 %) and Si (19.20 %) as the three major elements in the ash of the untreated sample with Si (95.20%) being predominant for the treated ones. The ash of the acid treated sample was majorly amorphous silica which was slightly mesoporous with surface area of 160.59 m2g-1 as shown by X-ray diffraction and nitrogen sorption analyses respectively. These findings confirmed that the Malaysian OPL is a lignocellulosic biomass as well as a good source of amorphous silica, hence may prove useful as a potential renewable source of bioenergy and an alternative silica source for industrial applications.

Author Biography

Roswanira Abdul Wahab, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia 81310 UTM Johor Bahru, Johor Darul Ta’zim Malaysia

Chemistry Department and senior Lecturer


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