JOURNAL MONITOR EDITION 27 : KATALIS MERAH PUTIH: THE WAY TO ACHIEVE NATIONAL VISION TO NATIONAL ENERGY SECURITY THROUGH PALM OIL-BASED BIOHYDROCARBON
Journal Pages Number
Journal Document Type
Palm oil has the potential to provide a huge new and renewable energy source. This potential needs to be maximally utilized by Indonesia, given Indonesia’s large dependence on fossil fuel originating from imports. Palm oil’s carbon chain structure is similar to that of fossil fuel. Although, the fatty acids contained in palm oil are “contaminated” with carbon dioxide at one end of the molecule. To produce biofuels that resemble the hydrocarbon composition of fossil fuels, its needed catalysts for removing carbon dioxide and replacing oxygen with hydrogen.
So that processing palm oil into biohydrocarbon products can substitute fossil fuels, such as green diesel can substituting fossil diesel, green gasoline substituting fossil gasoline and palm avtur substituting fossil avtur. In contrast to biodiesel/FAME which is also palm oil based, biohydrocarbon products are drop-in which can be directly used in vehicle engines and have many advantages over fossil oil such higher cetane number and octane numer, lower sulfur content in green diesel, and lower freezing point and better thermal stability in green avtur.
To produce palm oil biohydrocarbons, a catalyst is needed in the chemical process. ITB’s Researchers have been since 1982, but collaborated between ITB-Pertamina just started since 2004. The catalyst given the name PITN 100-2T or the first Katalis Merah Putih was test in 2010, showed the resukt that 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 catalysts for Pertamina’s refineries throughout Indonesia.
In mid-July 2020, Pertamina has also conducted tests on green diesel using Katalis Merah Putih. The test results also show good performance on palm diesel. This year, the production of Katalis Merah Putih on a commercial scale was carried out at the holding of BUMN PIHC. And then the catalyst will be used to produce biohydrocarbons at Pertamina’s refineries (Co-processing and Stand-Alone).
Thus, the development of biohydrocarbons as a new and renewable energy source in Indonesia 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.