Katalis Merah Putih, New Hope for The National Energy Sector
In his state speech in the Indonesian Independence Day on August 14, 2020 at the MPR’s building, President Joko Widodo said that Indonesia was building energy independence through palm oil-based bioenergy. In addition to the mandatory B30 biodiesel which has been in effect since the beginning of the year, biohydrocarbon products as an alternative to other palm-based energy as a substitute for fossil energy have also begun to be developed. The biohydrocarbon products include green diesel (D100) as a substitute for fossil diesel, green gasoline (G100) as a substitute for fossil gasoline, and green avtur (J100) as a substitute for fossil avtur.
In the middle of this year, Pertamina has also started developing the D100, which is diesel fuel which is 100 percent of palm oil, which has entered the performance test stage in July 2020. And the test results show that the D100 has a number of advantages such as high cetane number, lower sulfur content, better oxidation stability and clearer color.
The performance test of the D100 is a ray of hope for the national energy sector. The dream of the Indonesian nation to achieve national energy independence and security by not depending on imported fuel is not only a figment, but the dream will come true. This is inseparable from the results of research with innovation, namely Catalyst.
Catalysts are substances that can accelerate and direct chemical reactions and are able to provide opportunities to carry out reactions in softer conditions (low temperature and pressure) with high rates and selectivity. This material is the key to chemical processes to produce chemical and energy products, including bioenergy. Currently, the use of catalysts by industries in Indonesia mostly comes from other countries (imports). Therefore, domestic catalyst production must be developed more to substitute imported catalysts.
Researchers at ITB have been since 1982 to find a catalyst for producing renewable energy to replace fossil oil. The catalyst is used in the cracking process of stearin, which is the residue from the palm cooking oil industry to creating fuel oil, especially gasoline. However, the development of gasoline from stearin could not be developed because the industry rejected the proposal to manufacture the catalyst because it was considered economically unprofitable.
Then in 1996, PT. PIM (Pupuk Iskandar Muda) and ITB through a cooperation scheme to develop H2S adsorbent in natural gas. Through the research process until 1999, ITB researchers succeeded in obtaining an adsorbent formula that had an adsorption capacity of twice the adsorbent capacity imported by PT. PIM. The adsorbent was then given the name PIMIT-B1, which stands for the first PIM-ITB.
In 2004, Pertamina collaborated with ITB for research and development of the Hydrotreating Naphtha catalyst and the catalyst formula was discovered in 2007. The catalyst test was carried out in 2010 using a pilot scale reactor and the test results showed that the catalyst had a higher activity than the catalyst commercial. This catalyst was then given the name PITN 100-2T, namely the Pertamina-ITB catalyst, and was dubbed the first Katalis Merah Putih in Indonesia. This catalyst also stated to have better performance and are more stable than imported catalysts. So that, Pertamina officially decided to use a catalyst in the Hydrotreating process for both naphtha, kerosene, and diesel in 2012.
Furthermore, ITB researchers have also further developed PITN 100-2T catalysts, such as PITD 120-1.3T for Treating Diesel (PITD) at Pertamina. Other studies have also produced PIDO 130-1.3T catalyst, which is a catalyst that converts vegetable oil into paraffinic hydrocarbons. Currently, various types of catalysts and more than 170 tons have been refined at Pertamina to replace imported catalysts. Starting from the refinary unit (RU) II Dumai, TPPI, RU IV Cilacap, RU VI Balongan to RU V Balikpapan. This shows that the Katalis Merah Putih is increasingly flying in the archipelago.
Katalis Merah Putih are required in chemical processes such as cracking and hydrodeoxygenation (HDO). To produce palm oil diesel, needed palm oil and PIDO 130-1.3 T catalyst in the hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) process. Palm oil and BIPN 308-1T catalyst needed in the cracking process, so can produce palm gasoline. Meanwhile, to produce avtur palm oil, palm kernel oil and 130-1.3 T PIDO catalyst are needed.
The Katalis Merah Putih was produced by ITB researchers to produce biohydrocarbon products have the advantages sts, namely (1) reliable catalyst performance, conversion and stability beyond standard (2) longer catalyst life (3) competitive prices and (4) catalysts are designed accordingly operating requirements (tailor-made).
The catalyst for development biohydrocarbons not only contributes to the achievement of national energy security, but also brings other benefits such as reducing emissions, increasing the price of FFB and CPO so as to improve the welfare of producers (especially smallholders), strengthen smallholder oil palm up to reducing the intensity of competition and trade barriers (including black campaigns) imposed by other vegetable oil producing countries.
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