Palm oil products are made using milling and refining processes. Melting and degumming removes impurities. Then the oil is filtered and bleached. Next, physical refining removes smells and coloration, to produce "refined bleached deodorized palm oil", or RBDPO, which are used as an important raw material in the manufacture of soaps, washing powder and other hygiene and personal care products. RBDPO is the basic oil product sold on the world's commodity markets.
Palm oil, like other vegetable oils, can be used to create biodiesel.
In 2008, global production of oils and fats stood at 160 million tonnes. Palm oil and palm kernel oil were jointly the largest contributor, accounting for 48 million tonnes or 30% of the total output. Soybean oil came in second with 37 million tonnes (23%). About 38% of the oils and fats produced in the world were shipped across oceans. Of the 60.3 million tonnes of oils and fats exported around the world, palm oil and palm kernel oil make up close to 60%; Malaysia, with 45% of the market share, dominates the palm oil trade.
Indonesia: As of 2009, Indonesia was the largest producer of palm oil, surpassing Malaysia in 2006, producing more than 20.9 million tonnes.
Malaysia: In 2008, Malaysia produced 17.7 million tonnes of palm oil on 4,500,000 hectares (17,000 sq mi) of land, and was the second largest producer of palm oil, employing more than 570,000 people. Malaysia is the world's second largest exporter of palm oil. About 60% of palm oil exports from Malaysia are shipped to China, the European Union, Pakistan, United States and India. They are mostly made into cooking oil, margarine, specialty fats and oleochemicals (analogous to petrochemicals derived from petroleum).
Nigeria: As of 2011, Nigeria was the third-largest producer, with more than 2.5 million hectares (6.2×10
The use of palm oil has become controversial with some environmental activist groups because it has led to removal of rainforests in parts of Indonesia in order to make space for oil-palm plantations. This has resulted in acreage losses of the natural habitat of the orangutan.
The Center believes palm oil can be produced in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner. (Wikipedia)
American Palm Oil Council
Malaysian Palm Oil Board
Palm Oil HQ