Techno-economic evaluation of integrated levulinic acid, formic acid, and furfural plant from oil palm empty fruit bunch with pre-treatment variations

Denia Apriliani RAHMAN, Andre Fahriz Perdana HARAHAP, Misri A GOZAN



Levulinic acid, a platform biochemical, might be utilized as a biodiesel additive in biodiesel production. Global demand for levulinic acids was 3,820 tons in 2020, while the roadmap target of biodiesel in Indonesia will reach 20% of diesel consumption in 2016-2025. These figures become the considerations for establishing the levulinic acid plant in Indonesia. The study's focus analyzed the economic viability of integrated levulinic acid production plant design based on Oil Palm Empty Fruit Bunches (OPEFB) in Indonesia. OPEFB was selected as raw material due to the enormous solid waste generated by oil palm plantations. In the plant design, software SuperPro Designer 9.0's used as a process tool simulator. The economic analysis showed the Net Present Value (NPV) as the US $ 548,850,764, an Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of 24.75%, and a payback period (PBP) estimated within six years with a Minimum Attractive Rate Return (MARR) of 6.1%. The optimal production capacities of levulinic acid, furfural, and formic acid are 12,425; 15,105 and 6,074 tonnes/year.

[Keywords: cellulose, delignification, levulinic acid, OPEFB, simulation]



Asam levulinat, sebuah platform biokimia, dapat digunakan sebagai aditif biodiesel dalam produksi biodiesel. Permintaan global asam levulinat mencapai 3.820 ton pada 2020, sedangkan roadmap target biodiesel di Indonesia mencapai 20% dari konsumsi solar pada 2016-2025. Angka-angka ini menjadi pertimbangan untuk mendirikan pabrik asam levulinat di Indonesia. Fokus penelitian menganalisis kelayakan ekonomi rancangan pabrik produksi asam levulinat terpadu berbasis Tandan Kosong Kelapa Sawit (TKKS) di Indonesia. TKKS dipilih sebagai bahan baku karena limbah padat yang dihasilkan perkebunan kelapa sawit sangat besar. Dalam perancangan pabrik, software SuperPro Designer 9.0 digunakan sebagai alat simulator proses. Analisis ekonomi menunjukkan Net Present Value (NPV) sebesar US$ 548.850.764, Internal Rate of Return (IRR) 24,75%, dan payback period (PBP) diperkirakan dalam enam tahun dengan Minimum Attractive Rate Return (MARR) 6,1%. Kapasitas produksi optimal asam levulinat, furfural dan asam format masing-masing adalah 12.425; 15.105 dan 6.074 ton/tahun.

[Kata kunci: selulosa, delignifikasi, asam levulinat, TKKS, simulasi] 


economic evaluation; formic acid; furfural; levulinic acid; oil palm empty fruit bunch; plant design; SuperPro Designer

Full Text:

51-60 PDF


Ahlkvist J (2014) Formic and levulinic acid from cellulose via heterogeneous catalysis, Umeå universitet.

Barlianti V, D Dahnum, H Hendarsyah & H Abimanyu (2015) Effect of alkaline pretreatment on properties of lignocellulosic oil palm waste, Procedia Chemistry, 16, 195-201.

Chin SX, CH Chia, & S Zakaria (2013) Production of reducing sugar from oil palm empty fruit bunch (EFB) cellulose fibres via acid hydrolysis, BioResources, 8(1), 447-460.

Climent MJ, A Corma & S Iborra (2014). Conversion of biomass platform molecules into fuel additives and liquid hydrocarbon fuels. Green Chemistry 16(2), 516-547.

D’Angelo SC, A Dall’Ara, C Mondelli, J Pérez-Ramírez, & S Papadokonstantakis (2018) Techno-Economic Analysis of a Glycerol Biorefinery, ACS Sustainable Chemical Engineering, 6(12), 16563–16572.

Dussan K, B Girisuta, D Haverty, J Leahy & M Hayes (2013) Kinetics of levulinic acid and furfural production from Miscanthus giganteus, Bioresource Technology 149, 216-224.

Gozan M, Abdurrachman, AFP Harahap, AA Rahman, B Prasetya, JRH Panjaitan, MYA Ramadhan, NC Natsha, Rahmayetty, SZ Amraini, M Samsuri, S Setyahadi, Sukirno (2020) Emas Hitam dari tandan Kosong Sawit, UI Press.

Gozan M, JRH Panjaitan, D Tristantini, R Alamsyah & YJ Yoo (2018) Evaluation of separate and simultaneous kinetic parameters for levulinic acid and furfural production from pretreated palm oil empty fruit bunches, International Journal of Chemical Engineering, 2018, ID 1920180.

Harahap AFP, AA Rahman, IN Sadrina & M Gozan (2019a) Optimization of Pretreatment Conditions for Microwave-assisted Alkaline Delignification of Empty Fruit Bunch by Response Surface Methodology, International Journal of Technology, 10(8). 1479-1487.

Harahap AFP, AA Rahman, IN Sadrina & M Gozan (2019b) Production of formic acid from oil palm empty fruit bunch via dilute acid hydrolysis by response surface methodology, in IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering, 673 (1), 012004.

Hassan N, NAKK Anwar, & A Idris (2020) Strategy to enhance the sugar production using recyclable inorganic salt for pre-treatment of oil palm empty fruit bunch (OPEFB). BioResources, 15(3), 4912-4931.

Hayes D (2013) Report on Optimal Use of DIBANET Feedstocks and Technologies.”," EU’s Seventh Framework Programme.

Kapanji KK, KF Haigh, & JF Görgens (2021) Techno-economics of lignocellulose biorefineries at South African sugar mills using the biofine process to co-produce levulinic acid, furfural and electricity along with gamma valeractone. Biomass and Bioenergy, 146, 106008.

Mayasari F, R Dalimi, WW Purwanto (20Projection of Biodiesel Production in Indonesia to Achieve National Mandatory Blending in 2025 using System Dynamics Modeling, International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy, 2019, 9(6), 421-429.

Mohan A, S Dutta, S Balusamy. & V Madav (2021). Liquid fuel from waste tires: novel refining, advanced characterization and utilization in engines with ethyl levulinate as an additive. RSC Advances, 11(17), pp.9807-9826.

Mordor I (2022). Levulinic Acid Market - Growth, Trends, Covid-19 Impact, And Forecasts ((2022 - 2027) [Online]. Mordor Intelligence, Available:

NREL (2020) Data and Tools [Online]. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Available:

Panjaitan JHR, S Monica & M Gozan (2017) Production of furfural from palm oil empty fruit bunches: kinetic model comparison, in IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science, 65(1), 012042.

Panjaitan JRH & M Gozan (2017) Formic acid production from palm oil empty fruit bunches, International Journal of Applied Engineering Research, 12(14), 4382-4390.

Purnomo H, B Okarda, A Dermawan, QP Ilham, P Pacheco, F Nurfatriani, & E Suhendang, (2020) Reconciling oil palm economic development and environmental conservation in Indonesia: A value chain dynamic approach. Forest Policy and Economics, 111, 102089.

Sadrina, AFP Harahap, A Rahman & M Gozan (2019) Effect of microwave-assisted sodium hydroxide pretreatment on hemicellulose content of oil palm empty fruit bunch for furfural production, in IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering, 673(1), 012008.

Samsuri M, M Gozan, H Hermansyah, B Prasetya, M Nasikin & T Watanabe (2008) Ethanol production from bagasse with combination of cellulase-cellubiase in simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) using white-rot fungi pretreatment, Journal of Chemical and Natural Resources Engineering, 3, 20-32.

Statista (2020) Production volume of palm oil in Indonesia 2012-2021 [Online] Statista Research Department, Mar 8, 2022. Available:'s%20top,the%20beginning%20of%20the%20year.

Ya’aini N, NAS Amin & M Asmadi (2012) Optimization of levulinic acid from lignocellulosic biomass using a new hybrid catalyst, Bioresource Technology, 116, 58-65.

Zulkiple N, MY Maskat & O Hassan (2016) Pretreatment of Oil Palm Empty Fruit Fiber (OPEFB) with Aquaeous Ammonia for High Production of Sugar. Procedia chem. 18, 155-161.


Article Metrics

Abstract view : 146 times
51-60 PDF - 65 times


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2022 E-Journal Menara Perkebunan

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.


Menara Perkebunan as a communication media for research in Plantation sector opens opportunities for researchers and academics to write:
- original research results, technology development, or review of biotechnology and bioindustry and its application in agriculture, health and environment as well as other aspects of biotechnology.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.


Jl. Taman Kencana No. 1, Bogor 16128. Telp. 0251-8324048/8327449. Fax. 0251-8328516
E-mail :