Development of Palm Oil-Based Green Fuel Become National Strategic Program
President Joko Widodo officially signed Presidential Regulation No. 109/2020 concerning the Acceleration of the Implementation of National Strategic Program. This Presidential Regulation is an amendment of the Presidential Regulation No. 3/2016.
In 2020, the government through the Committee for the Acceleration of the Provision of Priority Infrastructure under the Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs will evaluate the proposed national strategic program by considering strategic aspects as well as strategic criterian and operational criteria. Based on these criteria, about 201 projects and 10 programs have been designated as national strategic programs as stipulated in Presidential Regulation No. 109/2020.
The development of green fuel has become one of the national strategic projects in Presidential Regulation No. 109/2020. To achieve this project, several infrastructures will be built, such as the Green Diesel Bio-Refinery Revampping RU IV Cilacap, Green Refinery of RU III Plaju, CPO Hydrogenation in PT. Pusri Palembang, and Katalis Merah Putih in Pupuk Kujang Cikampek.
The inclusion of green fuel as alternative energy development into national strategic projects shows the commitment of the Government of Indonesia in realizing national energy security and independence by reducing dependence on utilizing fossil energy while contributing to reducing global emissions.
Green fuel production (green diesel, green gasoline, and green avtur) utilizes palm oil as a local resource which has abundant availability in Indonesia. This is also in line with the Indonesia Government’s plan to increase the portion of renewable energy by 23 percent in the energy mix by 2025. A further implication of the use of domestic resources in fufilling national energy needs is to reduce imports of fossil energy, so it can strengthen foreign exchange reserves.
Katalis Merah Putih created by researchers from Bandung Institute of Technology succeeded in lifting the energy potential stored in the fatty acid composition of palm oil, which turn out to be very similar characteristics to the hydrocarbon chains in fossil oil. In addition that low emissions, palm oil-based green fuel also has several advantages compared to fossil energy, such as the high cetane number and lower sulfur content in green diesel; high octane number in green gasoline; and also better thermal stability and lower freezing points on green avtur.
The Indonesian government assigned Pertamina to develop and produce palm oil-based green fuel products. The palm oil used by Pertamina as raw material (feedstock) for green diesel and green gasoline is RBDPO (Refined, Bleached, and Deodorized Palm Oil), which is palm oil that has been refined to remove free fatty acids and purification to remove color and odor. Meanwhile, green avtur is produced from processing using RBD of palm kernel oil.
Pertamina has also successfully carried out trials throughout 2020 such as the green diesel (D100) trial at the Dumai Refinery, green gasoline (G20) trials at the Plaju Refinery, and (G13) at the Cilacap Refinery, and also green avtur trials which were also carried out at the Cilacap Refinery.
To support the development of palm oil-based green fuel production, Pertamina will modify one unit of Cilacap refinery, so that the refinery can be used to process pure palm oil. In accordance with Presidential Regulation 109/2020, Pertamina will also build a new refinery for green fuel or bio-refinery with a capacity of 20 thousand bph of palm oil at the Plaju Refinery, South Sumatra. The development of bio-refinery is also carried out at the Cilacap Refinery with a target capacity of 3 thousand BPD of palm oil or the equivalent of 150 thousand tons of palm oil in phase 1 and 6 thousand BPD of CPO or the equivalent of 300 thousand tons of palm oil in phase 2.
With the inclusion of palm oil-based green fuel in national strategic projects, it is hoped that the development of these products can be accelerated immediately. This is due to the large economic benefits and multiplier effects that can be felt by the Indonesian people.
The development of palm oil-based green fuel is also to be a downstreaming program that is able to absorb palm oil domestically, so its stocks are relatively stable which will also have an impact on the stability of prices. The mandatory B30 policy that is implemented in Indonesia has also received praise from global vegetable oil market experts for being able to become a global buffer stock and game-changer of demand. If the palm oil-based green fuel program has been implemented, its conceivable that Indonesia could play a greater role in maintaining the stability of global palm oil prices.
Besides that, the development of palm oil-based green fuel products is also a way to strengthen farmer’s plantation. The palm oil as raw materials (feedstock) used by Pertamina are directed to come from farmers plantations. BPDPKS is also ready to support funding and facilitate the development of palm oil produced by farmers for green fuel products.
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