Plan of Bio-avtur Production Progressing Well

BOGOR — After successfully conducting a ground test of palm oil-based bio-avtur (green avtur) use in airplane engine, Indonesia is optimistic that it can start the commercial production of bio-avtur, which is expected to reduce carbon emissions, cut the  import of the fossil avtur and realize its national energy resilience.  

“It is expected that several other tests, which include flight test, will be also successful, so that the country will proceed with its commercial production,” the Palm Oil Agribusiness Strategic Policy Institute (PASPI) stated in its report, which was published by recently.

Iman Kartolaksono Reksowardojo, an energy analyst and lecturer at Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), said that the palm oil-based bioavtur has a number of advantages, which include low emission, no need of new infrastructure, and no need of changing engines as the carbon element of bioavtur is compatible with the airplane engines. “Besides, there is no need for users of bioavtur to make special maintenance other than regular checking of engines,” he said.

In response to the reports of declining reserves of fossil fuels and the increase of carbon emissions caused by the use of fossil fuels, Indonesia and many other countries have been trying to develop renewable energy sources that only cause low emissions and are more friendly to the environment.

So far, Indonesia has managed to reduce its reliance on the fossil fuels by producing the palm oil-based biodiesel (B35) under a mandatory biodiesel program. Its success in creating a catalyst, called Merah-Putih catalyst, which is developed by a research team of ITB Bandung, has allowed the country to upgrade the production of biodiesel and the production of other bio-hydrocarbon (green gasoline and green avtur).

State-owned oil and gas company (BUMN) PT Pertamina started the development of palm oil-based green fuel in 2020. It has recently managed to conduct a test production of bio-avtur and green diesel (D-100) from palm oil in Dumai refinery plant with a production volume of 1,000 barrels.

The bio-avtur has undergone twice static tests in the test-cell owned by PT. Garuda Maintenance Facility (GMF) AeroAsia on the engine of CFM56-3. Based on the test, the engine that used the bioavtur showed a performance correlated to that of avtur Jet A1 usually used.

It has also conducted a test production of palm oil-based green gasoline in its Plaju (South Sumatra) and Cilacap (Central Java) refinery plants. The regental government of Musi Banyuasin (Muba) in South Sumatra province reported that they will use the bio-gasoline for all of its operational vehicles in the regency once the bio-gasoline already produced commercially. (*)