THE ILLIPE BUTTER FACTORY
The Illipe Butter Factory is situated in the Sintang Regency of West Kalimantan on the Island of Borneo. The factory was established in August 2014 and since then, the factory has produced illipe butter (or tengkawang fat) over three seasons, the production of which has tripled compared to the first season. The forests of Borneo are part of the Dayak's culture, it means everything to them, it is like their supermarket. Yet every second, Indonesia, loses a soccer field of its forest as deforestation continues and unsustainable palm oil plantations continue to encroach. These virgin forests are the gardens of biodiversity, they contain a high variety of life and products of enormous economic value which is not yet optimally used. For centuries the Dayaks have been making fat from illipe nuts for therapeutic and cosmetic purposes. Our low investment, high return, mini-factory now helps the Dayak people to efficiently process the Tengkawang nuts into fat, bringing jobs and income without producing any waste. However, the manufacturing of illipe butter isn't the only thing that happens at the Tengkawang factory, please take some time to find out what else is happening in the forests of Borneo.
Harvesting The Nuts
The nuts from the endangered Shorea Stenoptera tree, which only grows in the forests of Borneo, fall from the trees when they are ripe. The locals who live in and around the forest collect the nuts and boil them, allowing them to peel the hard skin. After peeling, they dry the nuts in the sun and when the nuts are sufficiently dry, they bring them to the Illipe Butter Factory where they are weighed. The collector is given a fair price and on the spot payment for the nuts.
Making Illipe Butter
The illipe nuts are then placed on a conveyor belt that brings the nuts to a press, where fat is extracted, providing a pulp and oil mixture which then needs to be filtered. After the first filtering the fat is filtered again through a triple filter, the last filter being 0.1 micron, to remove even the smallest impurities. The fat is then poured into large containers to solidify and transported onwards for global distribution.
The Tengkawang factory was designed to be multifunctional and to have multi-purpose, as a result other local products such as wood, rubber, dryland rice, kemiri nuts, and coconuts are dried and processed here after the tengkawang season. The pulp from the Tengkawang nuts is used as animal feed and for producing compost. Heat pumped into the drying shed is partially provided by an oven called a bio-char retort, this bio-char is produced as a soil fertilizer after mixing it with compost, which is also produced at the factory. Tar from the bio-char is used for wood preservation and wood vinegar from the bio-char smoke is used as a safe herbicide.