Industrial Vegetable Oil (IVO) Mill in Muba Ready to Supply Feedstock for Green Gasoline Production
After successfully developing palm biodiesel as an effort to reduce dependence on the imported fossil diesel, Indonesia still continues to innovate in producing other palm-based biofuels. This innovation is supported by the discovery of the Katalis Merah Putih by researchers from Bandung Insitute of Technology. By adding a catalyst to palm oil in certain chemical processes will produce green fuel products such as palm oil-based diesel, palm oil-based gasoline and palm oil-based avtur.
Unlike biodiesel (FAME) which requires palm oil (CPO) with certain characteristics, such as low Free Fatty Acid (FFA) content, the raw materials or feedstock to produce palm greenfuel do not require certain characteristics. Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFB) that are too ripe so that they have a high FFA content which has been a problem for the oleofood or biodiesel industry, but these characteristics are not problem for the greenfuel industry.
The feedstock needed to produce good-quality greenfuel is over-ripe FFB so that it produces more oil even though the FFA content is high, but the metal and gum content in the oil must be removed first so as not to damage the catalyst. With these oil characteristics, it is necessary to distinguish between palm oil used as a raw material for oleofood, oleochemicals, and biodiesel and palm oil for palm green fuel. Therefore, palm oil used as feedstock for palm greenfuel is called Industrial Vegetable Oil (IVO).
In developing the palm greenfuel project, BPDPKS collaborated with CaRe-ITB, Masyarakat Biohidrokarbon Indonesia (MBI), and the Musi Banyuasin (Muba) District Government developed a pilot project for the IVO mill to produce feedstock for palm green fuel products, namely green gasoline. This product can be categorized as super gasoline because it has a high octane (RON) content of around 110 or equivalent to Pertamax Turbo when mixed with Premium.
The development for the IVO mill to the production of palm gasoline is directed at being integrated with smallholder oil palm plantations, especially independent smallholders who participate in the PSR program. This aims to increase the absorption of their FFB, which is the result of replanting and increasing added value and will improve their welfare. The development of smallholder palm oil-based IVO mill also brings other advantages, such as being more profitable because the cost of processing FFB at IVO mill is cheaper (around IDR 95-110 per kilogram) compared to conventional CPO mill (around IDR 153 per kilogram) and saving on transportation costs.
In the pilot project, the IVO mill is a joint venture between regional-owned enterprises, a private company (PT Pura Barutama), and the Regional General Cooperative (Koperasi Unit Desa/KUD). Currently, there are around 24 KUDs that oversee oil palm smallholders in Muba and it is expected that as many as 50 KUDs are targeted to join the IVO mill in 2024. Data from the Muba Plantation Service shows that currently there are 5311 oil palm smallholders with oil palm plantations ready to supply IVO production with an area of 12.39 thousand hectares and is expected to continue to increase to 24 thousand independent smallholders with an area of 52 thousand hectares by 2024.
For now, the IVO mill trial in Muba is still being carried out at the palm oil mill that is owned by PT Berkat Sawit Sukamaju, which has been able to produce around 20 tons of IVO and is preparing to produce around 2 thousand tons of IVO which will be sent to the Plaju refinery to be processed into palm gasoline. The latest news says that soon the palm gasoline that is produced by the IVO mill will be ready to be used in all the official cars of the Muba District Government.
In 2021, relevant stakeholders will conduct ground breaking in order to build a stand-alone mini refinery that will produce IVO or green fuel products. This mini refinery will be part of an oil palm plantation entity to ensure sufficient supply, both in quality and quantity. So it is hoped that in the long-term scheme in 2024, oil palm smallholders in Muba will succeed in producing biofuel of higher quality than fossil fuels.
The Muba District Government is targeting Muba as a pilot area that has successfully implemented a palm oil mill downstream partnership (IVO) between smallholders, regional-owned enterprises, and cooperatives. With this partnership pattern, the smallholders are owners of shares in the IVO mill or palm gasoline mini plant and are more profitable because they do not spend capital within a certain period of time.
Finally, the successful development of the IVO mill or mini-refinery in Muba is expected to be a stimulus for other palm oil center areas to develop a smallholder palm oil-based greenfuel industry. So, apart from making a new history in global renewable energy through the production of palm gasoline or green fuel, another benefit that is generated is by helping farmers to be more sovereign, more independent, and more prosperous.
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