2016 Events

Research Seminar: Revolution of Enzymatic Technologies in Palm Oil Industry

Speaker: Mr Hong Wai Onn, Chairman of Chartered Member of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE)

Date and Time: 5 October 2016, 6.00 pm to 8.30 pm

Venue: Auditorium 1 (5-1-14), Monash University Malaysia


Palm oil industry is one of Malaysia’s major enterprises. In 2015, the Malaysian palmoil export reached RM40.14 billion and accounted for 5.1% of the total exports. While enzymes have been used in the food and beverage industries for a long time, enzymes are used most recently in the palm oil industry to enhance the quality and stability of its products and increased production efficiency. Enzymes also provide sustainable solutions to enable producers to improve environmental footprint by reducing energy and natural resource consumption, as well as reducing waste generation. This presentation will discuss the production of enzyme and review its current application in the palm oil industry.

Speaker’s Profile

Mr Hong Wai Onn is a Chartered Chemical Engineer and a Professional Process Safety Engineer. He is also a Chartered Member of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) and a Corporate Member of the Institution of Engineers Malaysia. He has been an active Project Management Institute (PMI) member and a PMI Project Management Professional credential holder since 2013.  Prior to his current position as Team Leader of Palm Platform at Novozymes Malaysia, Mr Hong was a Project Manager for Sibelco Malaysia and Senior Engineer for Genting Plantations Bhd.  He is the Chairman of IChemE Palm Oil Processing Special Interest Group. He also sits on the Industry Advisory Panel for Chemical Engineering at Monash University Malaysia.

Research Seminar: Characterization of Solid-Supported Ultrathin Films and Molecular Interactions Using Multi-ParametricSurface Plasmon Resonance (MP-SPR)

Speaker: Dr Janusz W. Sadowski, Vice President (R&D) of BioNavis Ltd.

Date and Time: 22 September 2016, 9.30 am to 11.30 am

Venue: SR 6-2-14, Building 6, Monash University Malaysia

About BioNavis Ltd

BioNavis is a manufacturer of high-tech instruments based on the unique MP-SPRtechnology.  SPR Navi™ instruments can be used to characterise nanolayers, nanoparticles and their interactions in terms of molecular interactions, layer thickness, refractive index, and electrochemistry. Our instruments are used in a number of applications, ranging from characterisation of functional materials to drug development. BioNavis is a private company with Finnish-Italian-Chinese ownership.

About MR-PR Technology

For  the  last  few  decades,  Surface  Plasmon  Resonance  (SPR)  has  been  used in  the label-free  detection  and  characterisation  of  biochemical  kinetics  and  affinities. However, the physical phenomenon, is not limited to biochemistry, but is applicable also as a generic method for nanoscale characterisation of thin films. MP-SPRempowers multidisciplinary research between life sciences and material sciences. Biochemists are moving from molecule-molecule interactions to molecule-materialinteractions, as seen in drug encapsulation or development of diagnostic kits. On the other hand, material science - especially in nanotechnology, is moving towards functional materials, including encapsulation of biomaterials, nanoparticles and more. Due to its wide angular range, MP-SPR opens new possibilities to study molecularinteractions that cannot be measured with traditional SPR method. Apart from traditional hydrogel-based biosensor coatings, a broad range of different sensor surfaces may also be used. This can include metals (Au, Ag, Al, Cu, Pt), polymers and ceramics (PS, PEO, PMMA, cellulose, Al2O3, SiO2), and even living cells. On top of that, the MP-SPR can also be equipped with more than one wavelength of light, giving the possibility to determine thickness and refractive index of unknown layers.

Speaker’s Profile

Dr Janusz W. Sadowski received his M.Sc degree in 1975 from Warsaw University of Technology in Poland and his  PhD  degree  in  physics  in  1978  from  the  Department  of Technical Physics at Helsinki University of Technology  in Finland. He worked at Warsaw University of Technology (1979-82), University of Joensuu (1982-88), VTT - Technical Research Centre of Finland (1989-2006). He is now the Vice-President (R&D) at BioNavis Ltd, which commercialised the MP-SPR technology developed at VTT under his supervision. His areas of expertise are in the fields of optics, precision mechanics, and biosensors, with emphasis on optical detection methods, especially the surface plasmon resonance phenomenon. He is an author of several scientific publications and patents.

Research Seminar: Ten Years of RSPO Sustainable Oil Palms

Speaker: Mr Jan Van Driel, Head of Certification for Round table Sustainable Palm Oil.

Date and Time:  19 September 2016, 6.00 pm to 8.30 pm

Venue: SR 6-2-14, Building 6, Monash University Malaysia


The backbone of the RSPO scheme is the certification in upstream and downstream member organisations. This ensures that the chain of custody is intact and that end users can be guaranteed the use of sustainable oil palm products. The consequences of being certified is an annual audit in which the members are audited against the agreed standards. The standard for the plantations and oil mills vary from environmental, technical, human rights to management settings and are defined in the Principles and Criteria.

Speaker’s Profile

Mr Jan Van Driel worked all his career in the oils and fats world and started in Unilever. He worked in the Netherlands, United States, UK and Russia. After having worked in South Africa, he settled in Malaysia and joined RSPO. Jan was a member of the original RSPO Criteria Working Group and also later as a member of the P&C Review Task Force. In his current role, he oversees all aspects of certification in RSPO and is responsible for the training activities by the RSPO endorsed trainers.

Speaker: Mr Toh Seong Hing, Assistant Vice President of Refinery Advisory Unit, Sime Darby Plantation Sdn Bhd

Date and Time: 28 July 2016, Thursday, 6.00pm to 8.30pm

Venue: SR 6-2-14, Building 6, Monash University Malaysia


Lean & Six Sigma's DMAIC methodology is widely used in the industry to improve output quality and reduce lead time of a process. The quality improvement will increase a company’s revenue, thus​ creating​ value to the stakeholders. We have applied the Lean & Six Sigma approach in the midstream ​to improve the yield of palm olein. The benefits include:

· ​ achieving a more sustainable and reproducible process

·  improving the analytical skill of engineers

· ​ building ​a clearer​ road map for short term and long term targets​

The structured methodology of DMAIC (i.e. Define, M​easure, A​nalyze, I​mprove and C​ontrol) ​could be used to address processing problems in feeding, cooling and​ chilling, crystallization, filtration in a​ dry fractionation plant.


Mr. S.H. Toh obtained his B.Sc. (Hons) Degree in Pure Chemistry in 2007 from University Science of Malaysia (USM) and M.Sc in Chemical Engineering (Process Integration) in 2014 from University Technology of PETRONAS (UTP). He is currently the Assistant Vice President of Refinery Advisory Unit for Sime Darby Plantation Sdn. Bhd. He oversees the operations of the​ company's refineries in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, South Africa, Netherlands and Papua New Guinea. He is responsible for technical troubleshooting, project improvement, operational excellence KPI and ​etc. Prior to joining Sime Darby he was attached to Wilmar International Malaysia. He is a Registered Chemist of Malaysian Institute of Chemistry (IKM) since 2008 and elected as Associate Member of IChemE in 2014.

Research Seminar: The Biomass Complex in Palm Oil Industry

Speaker: Professor Denny Ng Kok Sum

Date and Time: 23 May 2016, Monday, 6.00pm to 8.30pm

Venue: SR 6-2-14, Building 6, Monash University Malaysia


In the conventional palm oil mill, fresh fruit bunches are converted into crude palm oil (CPO).  Some of the palm oil mills further convert the palm kernel into crude palm kernel oil (CPKO). During the extracting crude palm oil and crude palm kernel oil from palm fresh fruit bunches, palm oil mill generates large amount of palm-based biomasses (e.g., palm kernel shell, empty fruit bunches, decanter cake, etc.). These biomasses are projected to increase up to 110 million dry tones by 2020. With the increasing volume of global palm oil production, palm-based biomass utilisation is gaining significant attention as there are plenty opportunities and potentials to convert them into value-added products. However, these biomass resources are currently underutilised. On the other hand, most of the palm oil mills are facing challenges in meeting the discharge standard of POME imposed by local authorities. Although various treatment systems/technologies have been developed and implemented in the palm oil mills over the past decades, however, there is none a single system which can eliminate all the solid and liquid wastes in the palm oil mill. To date, standalone processes that convert palm-based biomass to value added products (e.g., biofuels, biobased chemicals) through thermal, biological and physical conversions are well established. However, integrated palm-based biorefinery, which is a processing facility that converts palm-based biomass feedstocks into a wide range of value added products via multiple technologies. It emerged as noteworthy concept to integrate several conversion technologies to have more flexibility in product generation with energy self-sustained. In this talk, strategy for transformation of conventional palm oil mill into sustainable integrated palm oil mill with palm-based biorefinery is discussed.


Dr. Denny K. S. Ng is Professor at the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering and Founding Director of Centre of Sustainable Palm Oil Research, The University of Nottingham, Malaysia Campus.  Dr Ng obtained his PhD degree from the University of Nottingham, Malaysia Campus and was the first student who completed a PhD program within two years. He serves as member of the advisory panel for MyHIJAU Training (MHT), Malaysian Green Technology Corporation (Green Tech Malaysia), International Committee Member of IChemE's Medals & Prizes, Committee Member of Chemical Engineering Technical Division, Institution of Engineers, Malaysia (IEM) and Chair of IEM Chemical Engineering Design Competition 2015. His areas of specialisation include energy management, resource conservation via process integration techniques (pinch analysis and mathematical optimisation), synthesis and analysis of biomass processing and integrated bio refineries, as well as energy planning for greenhouse gas emission reduction. Dr Ng is well-published and well-cited for his age (over 90 papers with an h-index of 25) and presented more than 150 papers in various conferences. Dr Ng is also serving as international scientific committee for several international conferences. Besides, he also serves as reviewer for more than 50 peer review journals. He establishes collaboration with well-known international researchers from the United State, the Philippines, Taiwan, etc. throughout his career. He was the recipient of World Federation of Scientists (Malaysia National Scholarship) award in 2007, First Class Excellence Award of Yayasan Negeri Sembilan, 2009, IChemE Young Chemical Engineer of the Year 2012, Three Outstanding Young Persons of Negeri Sembilan (3OYP.NS) Awards, Junior Chamber International (JCI), 2014 and Institution of Engineers, Malaysia (IEM) Young Engineer Award 2015.  Other than the above mentioned personal awards, Prof Ng also received various awards from professional bodies and institutions on his great achievements and contributions to the society. Apart from focusing on research and development (R&D), Dr. Ng also applied his R&D output in industrial consultation projects. To date, Prof Ng has received more than RM 2 million research grants from government and industries to develop his research and commercialise the outputs.

Research Seminar: Advanced Analytical Tools for the Study of Nanoscale Surface Interactions

Speaker: Dr Gabriel Ohlsson, Biolin Scientific

Date and Time: 13 April 2016, Wednesday, 9.30 am to 11.30 am

Venue: SR 6-2-15, Building 6, Monash University Malaysia


Quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation (QCM-D) enables nanoscale mass and structural changes to be measured and therefore offers a robust method for studying molecular interactions and surface phenomena. Unlike other microbalances, Q-Sense instruments simultaneously measure both mass and rigidity enabling accurate, quantitative measurements of both rigid and soft films. QCM-D are already being used in most surface science applications for examples Biofouling, Biomaterials, Bio-Recognition, Drug Development, Electrochemistry, Functionalized Surfaces, Material Properties and Thin Film Characterisation.

This seminar/workshop will give you an overview of technique for analysing molecular layers and surface interactions in real time. Join us to learn more about the basic principles of the QCM-D technique and the application areas where it can be used.

Who should attend:All those working in the fields of Biomolecular, Drug Development and material/chemical/polymer science interested in Biophysical characterization. This workshop will be particularly useful to users of these instruments who will benefit from discussing their applications during this seminar/workshop.

Research Seminar: Cellulose Nanocrystal: A Promising Sustainable Nanomaterial for Chemical Engineering Applications

Speaker: Professor Michael Tam, University Research Chair, Department of Chemical Engineering and Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology, University of Waterloo.

Date and Time: 11 April 2016, Monday, 2.00 pm to 3.00 pm

Venue: LT 4108, Building 4, Monash University Malaysia​


Nanotechnology is anticipated to be the next technological wave that will drive many of the innovations in science and engineering. In this discipline, there is a renewed impetus to develop nanomaterials from renewable sources due to the negative impact of using raw materials from traditional carbon sources, such as crude oil. New opportunities in the use of sustainable and renewable material for various advanced engineering applications exist, and cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) offers a new route to product development and formulations in these industrial sectors. The talk will focus on the important role CNC functionalization plays in imparting attractive properties that are critical for their applications.


Prof Michael Tam obtained his B.Eng. and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical Engineering from Monash University, Australia in 1982 and 1991 respectively. He spent 18 months on a postdoctoral fellowship at the Department of Chemical Engineering, McMaster University Canada, and subsequently taught at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore for 15 years. In June 2007 he joined the Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Waterloo as a tenured full Professor, and holds the position of University Research Chair in the field of functional colloids and sustainable nanomaterials. He is an active member of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology. His research interests are in colloids, self-assembly systems, polymer-surfactant interactions, and drug delivery systems. He has published more than 280 journal articles in various fields of polymer science and engineering. His total citation exceeds 7000 and his H-index is 49. He is also an associate editor of ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering.

Research Seminar: Continuous Fractionation: The Latest Development in Palm Oil Fractionation

Speaker: Mr K. K. Khoo, Managing Director of Desmet Ballestra (M) Sdn Bhd, Malaysia

Date and Time: 29 February 2016, Monday

Venue: LT 6005, Building 6, Monash University Malaysia​


Palm Oil fractionation is an important step in processing palm oil to be suitable for uses in different applications. Traditionally this process is being carried out in batch stirred reactor where crystals are being agglomerated to the required temperature to meet the specific melting points of the products. The increasing demand for more efficient, more sustainable and optimized processing required the Palm Oil industry to continue in search for new process technologies to remain competitive in the market. Mega size capacity of Palm Oil refineries installation that process more than 2000 tpd are no longer an exception and the economy of scale explains why even the most marginal relative savings in utilities can yield a huge absolute cost reduction. The industrialization of Continuous Dry Fractionation for Palm Oil ​in this respect is regarded as a major step forward for dry fractionation processing. This innovative technological development is not only addressing the optimization of utilities but also to overcome the apparent shortcomings of current batch system with crystal deposits, fouling, product variability and consistency.

Some of the established advantages with continuous fractionation are:

- increased throughput

- improved yield

- lower energy consumption (steam and electivity)

- consistency of product quality

From the first industrialization of this technology in 2011, it is estimated that as of today there are in excess of about 20.000 MT per day of Palm Oil being fractionated in continuous crystallization process. Most of these processes are dedicated to palm oil fractionation and its fractions: superoleins, superstearin and mid fractions. But the technology has also found entry for rice bran fractionation, fish oil fractionation etc.


Mr K. K. Khoo graduated from University of Manchester, UK with a B.Sc. (Hons) degree in Chemical Engineering in 1983 and a M.Sc. in Operation Management in 1985. He has worked for close to 30 years in the Oil & Fats Industry starting as Project Engineer and then as Plant Manager in one of the leading Palm Oil Refineries in Malaysia. He was elected Chartered ChemicalEngineer and became Fellow of IChemE in 2012. He joined Desmet Ballestra Group in 1992 as General Manager for Malaysia office taking care of the operations in South East Asia region. Later being promoted to Managing Director taking care of the Desmet Ballestra regional offices in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and China covering the South East Asia, Far East Asia and China markets.