Palm Oil Waste Has Potential To Substitute LPG

JAKARTA – The directorate general of new, renewable energy and energy conservation of the ministry of energy and mineral resources (MEMR) has been  pushing for the commercial development of biogas to biomethane-compressed natural gas (Bio-CNG) as a substitute of oil fuel in the transportation sector and a replacement of the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for industry.

The MEMR Bioenergy Director Andriah Feby Misna said that the Bio-CNG development is expected to accelerate the contribution of the new and renewable energy in the national energy mix. The Bio-CNG is derived from the refining of biogas (pure methane) by cracking the components of carbon-dioxide (CO2) and carbontetraoxide (CO4), and negating other impurities to produce methane gas of more than 95 percent.

“The characteristic of the bio-methane resembles the CNG. The development of bio-methane can be applied for non-electricity sectors,” Feby said as reported by the MEMR website recently.

Feby noted that the Bio-CNG can be produced from a variety of sources. But Indonesia as the world’s largest producer of crude palm oil (CPO) can use the CPO waste and also other agricultural and farm wastes as raw materials to produce the biogas and biomethane. “It can give a significant contribution as currently we still import LPG in big amount. We also have various raw materials to produce the Bio-CNG,” said Feby.

To push the development of Bio-CNG, the MEMR has partnered with the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) to conduct a study in Central and East Kalimantan. The study will be soon followed with technical assistance and preparations for the development of the Bio-CNG. “Despite having big potential, the Bio-CNG is not yet developed commercially. We’re facing many challenges, from economic policies to technology and to commercial system,” Feby said.

Bioenergy Technics and Environment Coordinator Efendi Manurung pointed out that the development of Bio-CNG will be more focused on the transfer of technology and the involvement of researchers and technology activists to innovate in the biogas development. “The infrastructure of Bio-CNG is relatively non-existent. But we’re trying to facilitate it by designing a regulation  to accelerate the production and use of Bio-CNG,” said Efendi.

According to him, it is possible for development of the infrastructure to support the production and use of Bio-CNG in the future. “The oil-gas directorate general can reorient the development of natural gas infrastructure to the Bio-CNG infrastructure if it is urgent to implement the Bio-CNG program for households. We have a huge potential of agricultural and farm wastes as the raw materials to produce the Bio-CNG. We can reduce our LPG imports. It also helps us in protecting environment,” added Efendi.

The Indonesian CNG Companies Association (APCNGI) Chairman Dian Kuncoro said that compared to the LPG, the infrastructure for distribution of CNG will need bigger investments due to their difference of characteristics. For example, the CNG has a much higher pressure than that of LPG, so that transporting the CNG to customers will need stronger canisters with stronger metal material. “Certainly, its cost will be higher at around US$10 – US$13 per MMBTU,” he said. (*)

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