Prof Illah Sailah Encourages Sustainable Agro-Industry Process Technology

The role of process technology in an industry can determine the level of efficiency, effectiveness and productivity. However, with the issue of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the selection of process technology must be accompanied by eco-efficiency considerations to reduce the impact on the environment.


In his presentation at the Press Conference for Pre-Scientific Oration, (8/12), Prof Illah Sailah, Professor of the Department of Agroindustrial Technology IPB University said that the role of process technology is very dominant in increasing the added value of agricultural products. Besides being able to produce high-value products, process technology can also minimize waste. However, he continued, there are several challenges in process technology, namely process optimization that balances economic benefits with social and environmental impacts. It is possible that the selected process will be economically profitable, but will produce high pollutants, so that a higher waste handling cost is required.


“Process technology can play a role in transforming waste into useful products, even containing elements of product commercialization with high value. For example, POME (palm oil mill effluent) contains high COD and BOD," he said.


According to him, if disposed of directly, these two compounds will harm the environment. However, with the right process technology, namely electrocoagulation, the wasted waste is suitable for distribution into public waters.


"Electrocoagulation can reduce pollutant levels in wastewater from palm oil mills. The pollutant levels are lower and the estimated operating cost of electrocoagulation is also cheaper than the chemical coagulation process," he added.


With increasingly advanced technology in the future, he hopes that the agro-industry sector will also adjust and adapt to needs. The future agro-industry will require a lot of advanced materials through nanotechnology, materials for 3D printing applications, and smart products such as smart packaging.


"The challenge of agro-industry using advanced technology is the sustainability of raw material supplies in terms of quality and quantity. Besides that, the provision of human resources that are adaptive to technological advances will require new work competency standards," he explained.


He added, economic profit is not the only main goal in the trend of global industrial development. In order to keep the agro-industry operating, all parties must pay attention to social and environmental factors.


According to him, the selection of process technology must always include securing the waste or by-products produced. Therefore, it is very appropriate when agro-industrial development leads to an integrated industrial area (eco-industrial zone) with a focus on local excellence and using non-waste process technology, applying the principles of green chemistry and cleaner production.


"Of course, from an economic standpoint, agro-industry needs to be smart in the use of labor, calculating waste handling costs, making efficient use of energy, and optimizing other resources," he said. (Zul) (IAAS/MLD)

Published Date : 09-Dec-2022

Resource Person : Prof Illah Sailah

Keyword : Agro-industry, IPB University, Professor, Scientific Oration