Indonesia Begins Testing CPO for Diesel Power Plants

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Biodiesel has been used in Indonesia since 2006 as part of the efforts to reduce the carbon emissions which mostly contributed by fossil fuels. Switching to a cleaner and more sustainable energy is necessary, not only due to the level of pollution, but also to help cut down the import rate of Bahan Bakar Minyak (BBM). Indonesia, actually, has abundant alternative energy capacity. Safe to say, Indonesia is home to large reserves of geothermal energy, solar energy, wind energy, ocean currents, biomass and biofuel. 

For biofuel, Indonesia is rich in palm oil as a raw material. Thankfully, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources has started testing crude palm oil to be used in diesel-fueled power plants since last year. The study is led by Badan Litbang ESDM and conducted by Pusat Penelitian dan Pengembangan Teknologi Ketenagalistrikan, Energi Baru, Terbarukan dan Konservasi Energi (P3TKEBTKE).

Head of P3TKEBTKE, Chrisnawan Anditya, said that the use of petroleum in power plants remains high so that it needs unconventional fuels. The state-owned electricity company, PT PLN, consumed more than four million kilolitres of petroleum in 2018. The use of petroleum in power plants has resulted in higher operating cost and electricity subsidy. However, diesel-fueled power plants are still needed in Indonesia, particularly as primary power sources in isolated areas. Currently, the government of Indonesia has been reducing use of petroleum in power plants by operating renewable energy-fueled power plants. 

Indonesia has many opportunities to replace petroleum with CPO. If 50% power plants or more than 2.000 diesel-fueled power plants converted to CPO-fueled, PT PLN can reduce its fuel cost significantly. In the government’s renewable energy roadmap, the capacity for renewable energy power plants is expected to increase from 10,000 megawatts (MW) currently to 32,000 MW in 2030, and 52,300 MW in 2045. 


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