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Palm oil orchard overhead

Solutions Challenge: Tropical Deforestation

Oleo: Sustainable Palm Oil

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Palm oil is the most widely-used vegetable oil in the world, but unfortunately production begins with clearing tropical rainforests, leading to deforestation, habitat loss, and greenhouse gas emissions. To address these issues, we are working to develop a synthetic palm oil alternative produced from repurposed oil palm waste streams. Currently, we are researching the technical feasibility of developing a fermentation feedstock from recycled oil palm biomass that is capable of producing a synthetic alternate. As palm oil is a major driver for Indonesia's economy, we plan to implement this lab-grown process at existing smallholdings in the region, to keep economic development within the country. Our solution is aligned with the TomKat Solutions Program's mission to address underlying causes of deforestation, and stands to directly curtail both greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation by reducing the demand for farmland in Indonesia, one of the world's top palm oil producers.

Kelly Redmond Headshot
Gabby Dweck headshot
Prof. Kate Maher Headshot

Kelly Redmond (MS Design Impact)
Gabriella Dweck (MS Design Impact)
Professor Kate Maher  (Earth System Science)

Awarded 2022
Solutions Challenge: Tropical Deforestation