Researchers: S.N.A. Musa, M.S. Osman, S. Mohammadan,
A.A. Alias, M.I. Jobli
Faculty of Engineering,
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak
Malaysia is one of the major world pepper producer after Brazil, India and Vietnam. And most of the pepper plantations in Malaysia are concentrated in Sarawak, which contributes 95% to its total pepper production.
Pepper harvests produce a considerable amount of waste i.e. 4-5 % of a 100 kg fruit spikes. According to Malaysian Pepper Board, most of the wastes produced during the harvesting seasons are discarded; this, despites effort to develop non-food products, such as organic fertiliser, from the waste generated during pepper harvest.
The research at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak aims to study the potential of turning the waste into pellets and running an investigation on the properties of these pellets. Through this effort, the potential of turning this pellet into feedstock for energy generation can be explored; also, it providing an alternative for disposal.
Production of pellets from agricultural byproducts is not new. Research on pellet produced from wood, barley straw, wheat straw and a few other agricultural byproducts has been conducted, and comparison of the pepper pellets properties can therefore be made against some of those pellets.