Oil Palm Plantation Produces Sustainable and Low Emission Bioelectricity
Fortunately, Indonesia has the largest oil palm plantation in the world. Oil palm plantations are a gift from God for Indonesia. Everyday, Indonesians and even the world always use products that contain raw materials from the downstream products of palm oil. One of the people’s daily needs that are urgent to be fulfilled is energy needs.
So far, Indonesia is still using fossil energy such as fossil diesel, fossil gasoline, and fossil aviation fuel to meet domestic energy needs. Fulfillment of fossil energy is also through imported in large quantities, thus increasing the burden of Indonesian deficit net trade. Therefore, we must begin to switch to renewable energy, which is sufficient domestically to meet the needs.
On the other hand, palm oil has tremendous energy potential. One of them is the provision of national electrical energy. State Electricity Company’s Diesel Power Plant (PLTD), which has been using diesel fuel so far, turns out that its fuel can and has been replaced with palm oil.
The potential of oil palm as a raw material for power generation does not only utilize CPO as its raw material, but the palm oil biomass also has the potential to be used as a power plant in Indonesia, or what we know as Biomass Power Plant (PLTBm).
Siregar et al. (2017) in their research stated that the Biomass Power Plant engine with a capacity of 25 kW can be used to provide electricity to 1 village or around 25 people’s houses. This machine is very suitable for application in each Palm Oil Mill in rural areas so that their solid waste can be used as fuel to power the plant.
Another oil palm biomass that has a large bioelectric potential is Palm Oil Mill or POME liquid waste. This liquid waste can be used to be processed into biogas/bioelectric using Methane Capture technology. PASPI study shows, if it is assumed that 1 ton FFB will produce 0.67m3 POME, then POME production is estimated to reach 139 million m3. And every 1 m3 POME can produce 28 m3 biogases/bioelectric, then biogas production is estimated to reach 3.9 billion m3.
Utilization of biomass and palm oil as raw material for power plants actually contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The results of Siregar et al. (2017) also confirm this, namely if Biogas Power Plant (PLTBg) technology is applied nationally, the potential for value reduction GHG emissions of around 45.45 million tonnes-CO2eq. Similar to Biogas Power Plant, Biomass Power Plant is also able to reduce emissions from the palm oil industry because it produces lower emissions than other power plants. The value of GHG emissions from the Biomass Power Plant engine is 0.108 kgCO2eq / kWh. Meanwhile, the emission value of Electric Coal Steam Power Plant (PLTU Batubara) is 0.337 kg-CO2eq/kWh, Diesel Fired Power Plant is 0.308 kg-CO2eq/kWh, and Natural Gas Power Plant is 0.186 kg-CO2eq/kWh.
Thus, if the Biomass Power Plant engine can be applied up to a capacity of 70.2 MW, then Indonesia will be able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 385 thousand tons-CO2eq. This calculation is just the biomass in Palm Oil Mill, and if we do the calculation for all the biomass of oil palm plantations, with 14.3 million hectares of oil palm plantations the potential can reach more than 10,000 MW if converted to Biomass Power Plant. This value is large enough to help sustain the national supply of electrical energy and also target the realization of GHG emission reduction.
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