Jakarta. The state energy company Pertamina has announced success in producing the refined, bleached, and deodorized palm oil used for 100 percent biofuel, or the so-called Green Diesel, at its Dumai refinery in Riau, paving the way for Indonesia's ambition to switch to the green fuel as soon as next year.
Pertamina said the refinery produced 1,000 barrels biofuel per day in the third trial run on July 2-9, Pertamina's president director Nicke Widyawati said on Wednesday. The previous trials produced biofuel with a palm oil content of 7.5 percent and 12.5 percent.
"I congratulate my colleagues at Pertamina, especially those at the Dumai refinery who has proven that we are capable," Industry Minister Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita said.
Indonesia sees palm-oil based biofuel as a solution to slash its costly diesel imports, which have put its current account balance in the red in the past decade. Also, palm oil faces growing rejection from consumers in the developed market that could decrease its demand.
Facing the challenges, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's was adamant for Indonesia to be able to produce biofuel with 100 percent palm oil content soon. Today, the government has made the use of B40, or diesel fuel with 40 percent mix of biofuel mandatory, a step up from B30 last year.
Pertamina's Nicke said Pertamina's success was a result of support from the government and the palm oil producers.
"Thank you to the government and all related parties for their full support to Pertamina. This trial shows that we are ready regarding the refineries and catalysts technology," she said.
"Now, we need to think how to implement it so that it makes economic sense," said Nicke.
Indonesia currently makes 42-46 million metric tons of palm oil every year, with 11.5 percent of the amount is used to make biodiesel.
NIcke said Pertamina was constructing a green diesel production unit with a capacity of 20,000 barrels per day at the company's Plaju refinery in South Sumatra.