www.unri.ac.id . Seeing the growth of the palm oil industry in Indonesia which has the potential to produce very high nitrocellulose and Riau is the largest oil palm plantation in Indonesia, 2.25 million hectares, Medonna Febrina Putri, Dita Permata Sari, Adisty Caesari and Gilda Miranda, Engineering students at the University of Riau (UR) were moved to take advantage of the potential available in this oil palm plantation sector.
Medonna and her research team have seen the lack of use of palm fronds in Riau. The fronds are considered waste and are often burned. In fact, palm fronds contain cellulose which, if processed, has the potential to become useful and economically valuable products, one of which is nitrocellulose.
Nitrocellulose, will produce a propellant derivative which is the raw material for making rocket fuel. Nitrocellulose will be formed, if the level of Cellulose-α> 92%. To obtain these levels, it is necessary to do an alternative purification process using the xylanase enzyme in order to obtain a higher purity of Cellulose-α and no impact on environmental pollution.
"So far, the need for this propellant has always been imported from India and Indonesia has not been able to produce it on its own," explained Medonna, a UR engineering student.
Dona further explained that the purification process was carried out with variations in temperature of 50.60 and 70 0 C, volume of enzyme 1.2 and 3 ml, pH at 4.5 and 6 and time of 60.90 and 120 minutes. From this study, it was found that the highest cellulose purity was found at PH6, temperature of 60 0C , volume of enzyme 3 ml and time for 90, which reached 97.55 percent.
"Looking at the potential of palm fronds produced in Riau Province, it reaches 14.2 million tons per hectare in one year. We feel moved to make products that can be useful and have economic value for the community.” Dona said closing the conversation. (Wendi-Humas UR/ BPTIK UR). ***