Biodiesel Industry: Solution for Indonesia to be the Superpower

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It has been a very long time since Indonesia planted its first palm oil plantation, as today we find the palm oil has many benefits in contributing to Indonesia’s balance of trade, as the biodiesel program is currently being encouraged by the government. Biodiesel is an alternative energy that has been implemented by the government since 2008.

In the year 2018, Indonesia has produced 48.68 million tonnes with an area of 14.4 million hectares of palm oil plantation. Compared to some other major global producers such as Malaysia and Thailand, Indonesia is still leading the production capacity. However, in terms of productivity, Malaysia is still better than Indonesia despite the lack of plantation area. It is recorded that Indonesia is only able to produce 3.60 tonnes/hectare, whereas Malaysia is able to be more effective in utilizing the area with 4 to 6 tonnes/hectare.

Although Indonesia is still ineffective in producing biodiesel, compare to some other else country Indonesia still leads the amount of producing biodiesel with 137 thousand/barrel oil per day (Bopd), with the US, Brazil, and Germany followed behind with 112 thousand Bopd, 99 thousand Bopd, and 62.5 thousand Bopd each. Head of Pertamina (Persero), Nicke Widyawati explains that although Indonesia currently has the most volume in producing biodiesel, Pertamina needs to secure the fixed price of the CPO in order to process it. As currently, the CPO rates and some other instruments are still uncertain, where it caused difficulties for Pertamina to predict and prepare the production rate in the future.

The excessive amount of palm oil stock could be a solution to transform Indonesia to be a super-power country, just like other countries such as the US and some countries in western Europe. The reason why this industry could be the solution, because there are many benefits that can be earned through developing biodiesel into established new energy, like the fossil fuel that we have been using for ages. During a forum discussion with automotive journalists, Cahyo Wibowo from Central Research and Technology Development (LEMIGAS) mentioned that although the car producers in Japan were surprised, they were not sure if the biodiesel fuel could really be used on vehicles that have been made by them. Eventually, after a test that was conducted to prove the capability of biodiesel, they were amazed by the biodiesel technology.

Based on international recognition of Indonesian biodiesel quality, it is a great sign for Indonesia to develop this renewable energy to be an established energy resource that will be used for a wide range of purposes. It is recorded that the import of solar fuel has gradually decreased from year to year. With better management to reach maximum effectiveness and produce the FAME, as well as a consistent development of biodiesel, it is indeed not impossible for Indonesia to become a superpower country.