Biomass Supports Sustainable Biodiesel in Indonesia

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Indonesia has abundant resources of biomass, a great potential source of renewable energy that can be used to generate bioenergy, such as palm oil, food crops, and urban waste. Currently, palm oil produces the greatest proportion of Indonesia’s bioenergy, 38.8% of the total, leading ahead of rice husk (30.8%), rubber (8.5%), waste (6.3%), and woodchips (4.1%). 

Indonesia has many other potential opportunities for maximizing its bioenergy potential, for example, by converting used cooking oil (UCO) into biodiesel. The use of UCO for biodiesel can both deliver economic benefits and reduce environmental impacts. 

An initial study by Tim Nasional Percepatan Penanggulangan Kemiskinan (TNP2K) and an independent research institution, Traction Energi Asia, about the ‘Potential of Used Cooking Oil for Biodiesel and Poverty Reduction in Indonesia (2020)’ shows that in 2019, Indonesia national consumption of palm oil reached 16.2 million KL. Out of such volume, about 40%-60% of UCO was produced, or equivalent to 6.46-9.72 million KL, and only 3 million KL or 18.5% of the UCO could be collected. Indonesian government needs to collaborate more closely with local governments to enact policies for closer coordination on UCO collection.

In order to stimulate the development of the renewable energy sector, the government and private institutions should give their full support to facilitate more research. As an example, currently, Institut Teknologi Sepuluh November (ITS) collaborates with PT BGR to develop a teaching factory. Further explained by Deputy Chancellor IV of ITS, Bambang Pramujati ST MSc Eng Ph.D., this collaboration program is a mini-plan for learning and research facilities that will make a real contribution to the world of education, revenue, development, and collaboration with other ministries and agencies.

In the future, we need to continue in supporting more collaboration to ensure that Indonesia’s biofuel production can fulfil its greatest potential. This is in line with the government’s plan to set biodiesel as the primary alternative fuel.


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