MIPO 2nd E-Symposium

I am announcing that the Monash-Industry Palm Oil Research Platform (MIPO) of Monash University Malaysia and Malaysian Institute of Chemistry is pleased to invite you to the 2nd E-Symposium on Sustainable Transformation of Plant-based Oils and Wastes: Towards Circular Economy, Health & Well Being (2nd E-SSTPOW), which will be held on 22-23 February 2022 on sharing the current research on transforming the plant oils and agro wastes to the value-added products towards the circular economy, health, and well-being. Here attached are the brochure and abstract template for E-Symposium. 
I want to invite you to talk about the plant oils and agro-waste that you are working on. Kindly encourage research and technical staff and students to participate. Also, please disseminate the information to the related industries and your collaborators working in the area.

Please see the programme here.

For registration, please register here.

The cheque must be made payable to "Monash University Malaysia Sdn Bhd".

Please email /mail your payment receipts/ cheque to or please liaise with

Dr Pushpamalar Janarthanan

Symposium Chairperson,


Please submit your abstract to: Important date: Abstract submission due date: 5.00 pm on 10th February 2022. Registration closing date: 5.00 pm on 23rd Feb 2022.

MIPO Webinar Series 1/2022

MIPO would like to cordially invite you to our upcoming Webinar 1/2022. The webinar will be on “Challenges and Opportunities for Good Labour Practices and Worker Rights in the Malaysian Palm Oil Sector” and it will be held on the 25th Jan 2022 at 2-3 pm.

You may register here ( or scan the QR code on the brochure.

For enquiry, please email Dr Pushpamalar Janarthanan, the Webinar Chairperson and Deputy Director of MIPO at

MIPO Webinar Series 2/2021

The Monash-Industry Palm Oil Research Platform (MIPO) of Monash University Malaysia warmly invite you to the MIPO Webinar Series 2/2021 on the betterment of

palm oil to our society. Prominent Speakers, Tan Sri Augustine Ong from Malaysia Oil Scientists’ and Technologists’ Association (MOSTA) and Ir. Qua Kiat Seng from Monash University Malaysia will be speaking in this informative session.

The free virtual webinar will take place on 8th Nov, 2021 from 10 – 11 am. You may register at here or scan the QR code on the brochure.

Please encourage research staff and students to take part. Kindly, also disseminate the information to the relevant industries and your collaborators who work in the field.

For enquiry, please email Dr Pushpamalar Janarthanan, the Webinar Chairperson and Deputy Director of MIPO at

MIPO Webinar Series 1/2021

MIPO, in collaboration with the Malaysian Institute of Chemistry has organized the webinar based on Food & Health on 6th July 21 at 2.00 pm via Zoom. Mr Bryan See presented on “The potential of palm phytonutrients in nutraceutical/ health foods” and Dr Lee Yee Ying presented on “Modifications of Fats and Oils to Improve its Functional Properties”. The webinar had 73 participants. If you have missed the knowledgeable talk, you may watch the  the recorded video session of the MIPO Webinar 1/2021 is at the link

For enquiry, please email Dr Pushpamalar Janarthanan, the Webinar Chairperson and Deputy Director of MIPO at

Up-Coming Events in 2019

  • IChemE Palm Oil Processing Special Interest Group University Roadshow: The Truth about Palm Oil (30th September 2019).
  • Journey to Implement Analytics (7th October 2019) by IR. Mohd Sabri Zakaria from AZ Sepakat.

4th SEPTEMBER 2019


Speaker: Ir. Dr Tan Chee Fai (Robolab Technology Sdn Bhd)

Time:        6.30pm to 7.30pm

Venue:     Seminar Room 6-2-15


Emerging technologies have changed various industries at a fast pace. These technologies such as cloud computing, internet of things, artificial intelligent, big data analytics and mobile internet are being implemented into industries and it is believed to be ever-expanding. The advances in science and technology continuously support the development of industrialization all over the world. From a technological evolution perspective, there are four stages commonly identified for the industrial revolution. The first three industrial revolutions took place in around two centuries, and are the result of, respectively:

(1) The usage of wind, water, and steam energy to power machinery;
(2) The introduction of electricity into the manufacturing line for mass production; and  
(3) The use of automation technology for the manufacturing line.

Due to the emergent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0), many countries have initiated different national plan towards a new industrial revolution. Malaysia has launched the National Policy on Industry 4.0 (Industry4WRD) to increase Malaysia competitiveness. Malaysia currently accounts for 28 % of world palm oil production and 33% of world exports. If taken into account other oils & fats produced in the country, Malaysia accounts for 9.5% and 19.7% of the world’s total production and exports of oils and fats. Being one of the biggest producers and exporters of palm oil and palm oil products, Malaysia has an important role to play in fulfilling the growing global need for oils and fats sustainably.

In contrast, there are few challenges facing by the Palm Oil industry such as the poor rate of improvement in yield, low labor productivity, etc. The speaker will describe the opportunity and challenges for the Palm Oil industry in the era of IR4.0 and elaborate on how the palm oil mill benefit from IR4.0 technology advancement.

Speaker’s Profile

Ir. Dr. Tan Chee Fai AMN has more than 20 years of working experience in the high-end engineering industry. Currently, he is the President, Malaysia Robot Industry Association (MIRA) and Vice President of Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM). He is the Fellow at ASEAN Academy of Engineering & Technology (AAET) and Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM). In addition, he is the Foreign Senior Member, Chinese Mechanical Engineering Society (CMES). For Industry, he is the Chief Technical Officer of Robolab Technology Sdn Bhd. He is actively involved in intelligent manufacturing strategic and high-end technical consultation to assist industry towards the 4th Industrial Revolution. He has led various Industries, Universities, and Malaysia Government as well as International funded projects such as EU Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) and UNESCO Grant.

With the knowledge and experience, Ir. Dr. Tan has contributed as Keynote Speaker in various important international engineering events such as Annual Meeting of China Association of Science & Technology (CAST), FEIAP General Assembly, World Intelligent Manufacturing Summit (WIMS) and Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Future Engineers Conference. Based on his contribution to the ASEAN engineering community since the year 1998, Ir. Dr. Tan was awarded as the 2014 Ten Outstanding Young Malaysian Award Honoree on Humanitarian and Voluntary Services Category. In the following year, he received 'Ahli Mangku Negara' A.M.N. (Member of the Order of the Defender of the Realm) bestowed by His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia (The Supreme Head of Malaysia) in 2015.

9th JULY 2019


Speaker: Mr Chia Ing Chuk (Desmet Ballestra (M) Sdn Bhd)

Time:        6.30pm to 7.30pm

Venue:     Seminar Room 6-2-14


Deodorisation is a vacuum-steam distillation process in which a given amount of stripping steam is passed for a given period through hot oil that is kept at deep vacuum. It is usually the last stage of the refining process where various volatile components are removed. However, as it is carried out at a high temperature, other chemical and thermal effects may occur. The principle of the deodorisation process has not changed much since its first application but the deodorising technology itself has changed significantly. It has steadily improved to increase process efficiency and better oil quality – a lighter colour, blander odour, extended shelf life and contaminant-free, particularly low in 3-MCPD and glycidyl esters.

Speaker’s Profile

Mr Chia Ing Chuk is currently the Assistant Technical Manager in Desmet Ballestra (M) Sdn Bhd. He obtained his Bachelor of Chemical Engineering with Honours from Monash University Malaysia. He started his career as a process engineer in the year 2012 and has been actively involved in process plant design and plant commissioning in the oil and fats industry since he joined the company. He is also part of the steering committee for refinery process for the group.

17th June 2019


Speaker: Ir. Chew Chien Lye @ Mervin (Sime Darby Research Sdn. Bhd)

Time:        6.30pm to 7.30pm

Venue:     Seminar Room 6-2-14


I. The Truth About Oil Palm

Today, palm oil accounts for 34% of the world's vegetable oil production, with Malaysia contributing 39% of the world’s palm oil production. Being one of the major palm oil producers and exporters in the world, Malaysia plays an important role in fulfilling the needs of the growing global market. The oil palm tree is the most efficient crop as it produces 3.8 tonnes of palm oil per hectare, compared to rapeseed, sunflower and soybean oil with the efficiency of only 0.8, 0.7 and 0.5 tonnes of oil per hectare of land respectively. The oil palm utilises the lowest harvesting area of 7% and in terms of total world agricultural land, only a meagre 0.5%.

Palm oil also contains almost 50% unsaturated fatty acids, which is used as an alternative to trans-fats. This non-genetic modified oil is rich in antioxidants and used widely in various food and non-food products. However, the oil palm industry has been accused of being unsustainable, causing major deforestation and killing Orang Utans. It has also been linked to causing health-related problems, which led to the banning of palm oil by the European Union. It is now a crucial time to raise awareness about palm oil, based on facts, to shift the public’s perception.

II. Palm Oil Milling Initiatives

The production of edible palm oil generally goes through 3 stages whereby the freshly harvested fruit bunches are delivered to the palm oil mill for palm oil extraction. The crude palm oil is then sent to the refineries to purify it into edible palm oil. The palm oil milling process has faced various challenges and has remained stagnant for the past 30 to 40 years. New quality requirements (of low 3-MCPD & GE), high carbon footprint, stringent environmental regulations, public perception and labour issues are the main challenges currently faced. Nevertheless, these challenges inspire research and development and implementation of technologies in the mills through innovation.

Speaker’s Profile

Ir Mervin is currently a Chief Engineer at Sime Darby Research. He holds a double degree in Mechanical Engineering from Universitaet Duisburg-Essen and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. He is a Professional Engineer by the Board of Engineering Malaysia. His work focuses on oil mill process improvement particularly on quality enhancement and efficiency optimisation. He provides technical supports to four mills on technology evaluation, assessment, advisory and troubleshooting works.

He has vast experience in conducting researches and transforming laboratory tests into pilot and commercial scales. His interdisciplinary skills resulted in three successful commercialisations of in-house developed processes, where he was involved in the plant process design as well as the mechanical design. During this period, Mervin contributed four patents and six publications on palm oil mill process improvement.

In 2016, he received the R&D Recognition Award for Premium Quality Enhancement Project from Sime Darby Plantation. Subsequently, he won the Young Industrialist, IChemE Malaysia Award 2018 and the highly commended for Palm Oil, IChemE Malaysia Award 2018 category. This year, he led his team to receive the Best New Patent Filing for 2018 Award for Innovation Day 2019 by Sime Darby Plantation.

29th April 2019


Speaker: Dr Viknesh Andiappan Murugappan (Heriot-Watt University, Malaysia)

Time:              6.30pm to 7.30pm

Venue:            Seminar Room 6-2-14


The palm oil industry is an important contributor to Malaysia’s economy and development. In recent years, crude palm oil (CPO) has seen a steady increase in demand. This placed severe stress on farmers and plantation owners to rapidly expand croplands and plantations to meet rising demands, resulting in large-scale unplanned deforestation. This raised serious concerns due to the negative environmental impacts of deforestation and doubts on sustainability in oil palm plantation expansion.

In response, the recent European Union resolution opted to ban CPO-based products in the EU due to its alleged unsustainable value chain. These put countries like Malaysia in a very complex situation. In this respect, it is a crucial time for the palm oil industry to swiftly respond and ease doubts on the sustainability of CPO production. To achieve this, systematic tools must be developed to analyse expansion strategies to ensure that they are planned and more sustainable.

This seminar will discuss recent systematic tools developed as part of a collaborative effort between Heriot-Watt University, Taylor’s University and De La Salle University. These tools can be used for sustainable planning and development of existing or future palm oil plantations while taking into account several aspects such as oil palm tree maturity, plantation and mill carbon and water footprints, deforestation and planting costs.

Speaker’s Profile

Dr Viknesh Andiappan is an Assistant Professor at Heriot-Watt University, Malaysia. In 2013, he was the recipient of the Dean PhD Research Scholarship at The University of Nottingham, Malaysia Campus. He completed his PhD in 2016 and obtained CEng certification in 2017. He is currently a chartered member of IChemE.

He is currently involved in a joint collaborative effort to develop systematic tools for sustainable palm oil plantation planning. His area of specialisation centres on the development of systematic design approaches for biomass energy systems. In particular, his research aims to integrate process design and operational considerations simultaneously to synthesise biomass energy systems. His research interests also include process synthesis and analysis of energy systems, synthesis of integrated bio-refineries, process simulation, industrial symbiosis planning and energy planning for greenhouse gas emission reduction.

Dr Andiappan is well-published and well-cited for a young researcher (over 27 papers and 5 book chapters with an h-index of 8) and has presented more than 16 papers in various conferences since 2014. He also has a strong network of collaborators from Malaysia, Philippines, India, Taiwan, Qatar and the United Kingdom.

4th March 2019


Speaker: Ir. Shyam Lakshmanan (IOI Edible Oils Sdn Bhd)

Time:              6.30pm to 7.30pm

Venue:            Seminar Room 6-2-14


This talk will give a brief explanation of IOI Edible Oils Sdn Bhd's (Sandakan Refinery) operations and layout before it covers the energy savings initiative. The Vent Economizer proposal was selected as IChemE’s 2018 Award winner for the Palm Oil Industry category. This presentation will explain how the idea was mooted, how it was carried out and the savings which could be obtained from it.

Speaker’s Profile

Ir. Shyam Lakshmanan (IChemE Award winner for 2018 - the Palm Oil Industry Category) is the general manager of IOI Edible Oils Sdn. Bhd. He is also a Chartered Engineer and Professional Engineer. He graduated from the University of Warwick in the field of Manufacturing Systems Engineering. He has vast experiences in the processing of edible oil, minerals and chemicals. His experience in handling mineral processing operations has enabled him to collaborate with countries such as India, Australia, China and Indonesia. At present, he handles an edible oil refining complex with 3 refineries, 6 fractionation plants, 3 kernel crushing plants, raw water plant, effluent plant, biomass power plant, boiler, tank farm and export jetty.

11th February 2019


Speaker: Dr Ing. Mohamad Rizza Othman (Universiti Malaysia Pahang - UMP)

Time:        6.30pm to 7.30pm

Venue:     Seminar Room 6-2-14


The fractionation process of oleochemical products in Malaysia normally use conventional distillation columns (DCs). Because of a considerable amount of energy used in the separation process, there is a need to have an intensified process to improve the efficiency of distillation processes. Dividing-wall column (DWC) is an attractive option which offers major advantages especially for separating multi-component mixtures with reduced cost and energy consumption. However, research on its feasibility for oleochemical fractionation is scarce. In this presentation, the speaker will talk about how a model-based performance analysis of DWC for oleochemical fatty acid fractionation was conducted. The model was designed and developed using a customised four-column configurations in Aspen Plus. A step-by-step design procedure was introduced to aid the model development. Based on the model, an economic and environmental assessment was performed and compared with conventional DCs. Apart from that, a hydraulic analysis was also performed to gain insights on the column hydrodynamic behaviour. Such a study is important especially during the early stage of technology development prior to industrial implementation.

Speaker’s Profile

Dr Ing. Mohamad Rizza Othman, CEng MIChemE is currently a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Chemical Engineering Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP). He received his BSc and MSc in Chemical Engineering from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) in 2002 and 2005 respectively. From 2008-2011, under the Malaysian Government scholarship, he pursued a doctorate degree at the Chair of Process Dynamics and Operation (DBtA), Technical University of Berlin (TUB), Germany. In 2011, Dr Ing. Rizza finished his Doktorarbeit which led to a German doctorate engineering degree Dr Ing. (Doktor der Ingenieurwissenschaften). In 2018, he obtained CEng certification and is currently a member of IChemE.

Dr Ing. Rizza’s main topic of research interests includes sustainability assessment of chemical, biochemical and pharmaceutical processes as well as modelling, simulation, control and optimisation of chemical processes. He is also interested in the area of safety analysis and multi-criteria decision making. Since 2005, Dr Ing. Rizza has published 22 papers, presented in 35 conferences and 4 exhibitions contributions in various research areas including sustainable development, process modelling, safety and education. He has been invited to give talks at National University Singapore as well as MPOB’s events such as POMREQ and PIPOC. He has graduated 4 Master students and is currently supervising 4 postgraduate students. He leads several research & education grants amounting to half a million and is involved in several project consultations on the design of chemical processes especially pilot plant scale. He has more than 10 years of experience using computer-aided tools for modelling and simulation work such as Aspen Plus, Aspen Dynamics, iCON as well as MATLAB, LaTeX and VB.