Pros-Cons of Emission Savings Calculating Method from Palm Oil Biodiesel
Indonesia has been developing palm oil biodiesel since 2009, but the development has become even more significant since there are CPO Supporting Fund (CSF) managed by the Palm Oil Plantation Fund Management Agency (BPDPKS) in mid-2015. The purpose of the development of palm oil biodiesel is not only to reduce dependence on the use of imported fossil fuels and realizing national energy security but also as a strong commitment to contribute to reducing GHG emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement.
In that multilateral agreement, Indonesia is one of the countries that have ratified and also plays an active role in preventing climate change through reducing GHG emissions, which is targeted to be 29 percent (Business as Usual) up to 41 percent with international support by 2030. One sector targeted in this national commitment is the energy sector with a reduction target of 314-398 million tons of CO2. Renewable energy development such as biodiesel is energy sector’s efforts to achieve this target.
The commitment of the Indonesian government to achieve the GHG emission saving target through the development of biodiesel is suitable with their expectations. In line with the increase in domestic absorption and the blending rate of biodiesel, it made implications for a greater reduction in emissions from 592 thousand tons of CO2 (2010) to 22.3 million tons of CO2 (2020).
The calculation method of emission reduction due to the implementation of biodiesel policy is carried out by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources. In the #LetsTalkAboutPalmOil Webinar (28/01/21), representatives of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources present the method of calculating the emission reduction. In this calculation, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry uses a reference to the AMS-III.AK method which is modified according to national conditions. Due to data limitations, the calculation of emission reduction only includes utilities of biodiesel are used by various sectors.
This method used by government has triggered cons from various parties who claim that the calculation does not cover emissions generated from oil palm plantations. So it is assumed that the volume of emission reduction due to biodiesel calculated by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources is too large or over-estimated.
Although the method of calculating GHG emission reduction due to the use of palm biodiesel that is used by the Indonesian government has limitations, the ability of palm oil biodiesel to reduce emissions has been proven. Even, this ability has also been tested and proven by many studies both on national and international scale that used a comprehensive approach such as Life Cycle Analysis by calculating emissions from the plantation to production and consumption of palm oil biodiesel.
The European Union Commission through The European Council’s Directive 2009/28/EC calculates the emission savings from various feedstocks. The results indicate that palm biodiesel production (without a specific product process) can savings emissions by 36 percent. Meanwhile, palm biodiesel production that its feedstock comes from plantations that have implemented methane capture technology in processing its POME has the ability to higher emission savings reaching 62 percent. In fact, this ability of palm oil biodiesel (with methane capture) is higher than the ability of rapeseed biodiesel, soybean biodiesel, and sunflower biodiesel to GHG emissions saving.
In line with EU Commision’s results, the study by Mathews and Ardiyanto in 2015 that is published in the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) journal also prove the same fact. Palm oil biodiesel whose feedstocks are supplied from plantation with methane capture technology has a higher ability to saving GHG emissions reaching 66.9 perscent.
Apart from the pros and cons of the emission calculation method used by the Indonesian Government, we need to encourage and support the efforts of ministries to synergize and collaborate each other in complementing the data, so that the calculation of emission reduction due to the transition from fossil diesel use to biodiesel is more comprehensive, able to reflects the actual “number”, and can proving the fact that palm oil biodiesel is an alternative low-emission renewable energy source.
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