Bandung – Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) managed to develop a pilot project of palm gasoline by using 100% crude palm oil (CPO) as its raw material.
Melia Laniwati Gunawan, a member of Merah Putih Catalyst Team of the chemical reaction and catalyst technology expert of the industrial engineering faculty at Bandung Institute of Technology (FTI ITB) said recently that the success of producing the palm gasoline, nationally known as “Bensa” (Bensin Sawit), is the result of cooperation between the catalyst engineering center of ITB and the oil palm plantation fund management board (BPDPKS).
She pointed out that Bensa production demo unit, which converts the industrial vegetable oil (IVO) into palm gasoline through cracking process, is developed by the catalyst engineering center of Bandung Institute of Technology (PRK ITB), chemical reaction and catalyst technology laboratory of ITB (LTRKK ITB), and Bioenergy study program (TBE), which is led by Prof. Dr. Subagjo.
She said that the palm gasoline has been tested in motorcycles and cars with good performance as an energy source for vehicles. “The test was conducted last week in the workshop of PT Pura Engineering in Kudus, Central Java,” she said.
Melia said that the development of Bensa is based on the instruction of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), who encourages Indonesian industrial players to process the CPO first into various products before exporting it to foreign markets.
Indonesia is the largest producer of palm oil in the world with current total production at 49 million tons of CPO per year. But it is also the world’s second largest importer of fossil-derived gasoline. “Considering such condition, Indonesia is highly interested in developing the technology of producing the palm oil-based gasoline. That’s why we try to process the CPO into IVO (industrial vegetable oil). A product demo unit with production capacity of 6-7 tons per hour has been developed in Musi Banyuasin (MUBA) regency in South Sumatera province,” Melia was quoted by ITB website as saying recently.
Currently, ITB and PT Energy Management Indonesia are designing a concept of palm gasoline production units with a production capacity of 50,000 tons per year.
The production units can be developed and operated self-sufficiently around the oil palm plantations in remote areas across Indonesia. (*)