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Palm Oil Biodiesel: Still the ‘Primadona’ for New Renewable Energy Development in Indonesia

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Palm Oil Biodiesel: Still the ‘Primadona’ for New Renewable Energy Development in Indonesia

InfoSAWIT, JAKARTA – In general new renewable energy (NRE) proportion in energy mixture in 2022 just reached 14,11% while the government targeted NRE portion would be reaching 23% in 2025 (or about 45 gigawatt (GW)) and 31% in 2050 in national scale.

“Bioenergy capacity just reached 11,5 GW while the target is 45GW. It needs hard work to realize 33,5 GW,” Research and Development Coordinator in Surfactant and Bioenergy Research Center (SBRC) Lembaga Penelitian and Pengabdian kepada Masyarakat Institut Pertanian Bogor (LPPM IPB), Dwi Setyaningsih said.

Dwi thought, biodiesel development is significantly development while other bioenergy development, such as, bioethanol, biomass, co-firing, and biogas are beyond expectation still.

Dwi continued, biodiesel development scheme in palm oil base with the support of crude palm oil (CPO) and the government’s policies successfully encourage it to other bioenergy potential in this country. But biodiesel sustainability is still haunted by the expensive production costs. This is a challenge to be developed in wider scale.

He also mentioned that it needs special focus to take advantage on palm oil as food product from its available material. “As the alternative, many parties take for advantage on used palm cooking oil to produce biodiesel though it is not popular still,” the lecturer and researcher in IPB said.

Bioethanol development in Indonesia could not run well though it was initiated since 2006 in Malang, East Java Province. Bioethanol is late to be developed because its limited production though there has been mandatory policy E5 (the mixture of 5% ethanol in fossil fuel) in January 2020. “Actually, bioethanol usage 5 – 10% would be very potential to get emission reduction. But we are not there yet,” Dwi said

But it is different from biodiesel development within abundant material. Bioethanol materials uses commodity that men need of, such as, corn, cassava, sugarcane, wheat, and others that have sugar and carbohydrate. Meanwhile Indonesia could not get self-sufficiency in the commodities. “It needs to get research, figure out the materials that could be used to produce bioethanol. Some proposed to research, survey niftah, sugar palm, namely because of roomie potential in Java,” he said.

He also said that there have been many researches about advantaging palm oil empty bunch but the implementation was less economic. “But if it is integrated, the result could be more economic because the process would produce other economic derivative products. He also told biomass development in co-firing and biogas that got the same challenges and so far, powerplant development in biomass – base is in the islands where they are in distance with the other islands, such as, Mentawai, West Sumatera Province. “It uses bamboo. The challenges are price and policy. Besides, powerplant uses 5 – 10% biomass only,” he said.

Biogas development faces the same – limited material. The realization is always less the target and even not reached 50% of the target. Dwi thought, the biggest potential to develop biogas is by advantaging palm oil mill effluent (POME). “If it is openly disposed, there would be methane gas (including green-house gas) in big numbers. What we should do is to capture methane gas then change it to be biogas to be powerplant,” Dwi said. (T2)