Palm Oil Mill Overview

Nakiyadeniya Palm Oil Mill of Watawala Plantations (CSE: WATA) is situated in Nakiyadeniya Estate, which is located in Udugama, Galle. Commenced its operations in 1984, the palm oil mill is using the latest palm oil milling technology to enhance efficiency with a low operating cost. Palm oil is extracted from fresh fruit bunches (FFB) by mechanical and heating processes.

Currently, the mill handles 15 MT per hour of FFB. It has the capacity to process 55,000 FFB MT per annum and presently produces over 12,000 MT of Crude Palm Oil (CPO), 1,250 MT of Palm kernel oil (PKO) and 2,000 MT of Palm Kernel Cake. With significant investments over the years, Nakiyadeniya Palm Oil Mill has today become one of the leading palm oil mills in Sri Lanka.

The extraction process begins with the transportation of ripe fresh fruit bunches harvested from plantations to the mills. FFBs are then sterilized using steam for a two hour cycle, which also help to remove the fruits from the bunch. The fruits are then moved to a pressing station through stripping where fruits are being separated from the bunch, and being subjected to mechanical extraction of crude palm oil from the mesocarp. The squeezed liquor from the mesocarp then goes to the clarification process where supernatant clean oil (crude palm oil) is skimmed off and being transfer to storage tank through drying process where moisture being removed.

Mill also has a Kernel crushing plant where Palm Kernel Oil and Palm Kernel Cake are being produced.

Process flow of the Milling in Nakiyadeniya Palm Oil Mill is as shown in Figure 01 (Primary Milling Process – up to CPO extraction) and Figure 02 (Nut Plant Operation, biomass flow and kernel crushing).

Mesocarp fiber and kernel shell are being utilized as the only fuel for Boiler and the generated steam (at 10,000 kg/hr.) is being utilized for electricity generation from a Steam turbine before utilizing in sterilization and process heating. Other biomass generated – empty fruit bunch fiber being used in Oil palm field mulching and the solid waste – Decanter cake which is rich in organic nutrients is being used in compost production at Nakiyadeniya Compost Processing Center.

The Nakiyadeniya Palm Oil Mill reached the next milestone in its development of sustainable CPO production after it achieved the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification. The momentous recognition makes the mill the first palm oil mill in South Asia and Sri Lanka to be certified with this coveted accreditation. The certification also strengthens Nakiyadeniya Palm Oil Mill’s leadership as the largest certified CPO and kernel oil producer in the country.

Watawala Plantations has ambitious plans in the pipeline to increase the capacity and efficiency of the palm oil mill. As per the ongoing mill development initiative, the company aims to increase the mill capacity by 100% by 2021 to stand at 15 MT per hour of FFB. Furthermore, WATA plans to modernize the entire Nut Plant at Nakiyadeniya by deploying state-of-the-art machinery to improve its process efficiency.