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Jakarta Post

Biofuel plan in limbo due to sugarcane output problem

  • Norman Harsono and Wahyoe Boediwardhana

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta/Surabaya   /   Thu, April 9 2020   /  01:36 am

Indonesia’s plan to roll out sugarcane-based biogasoline will miss another deadline this year as upstream problems in the country’s sugarcane heartland remain unsolved.

The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry issued five years ago a regulation mandating the nationwide use of 10 percent bioethanol-mixed gasoline (E10) starting this year, an increase from 2 percent in 2015, yet the target has still not been achieved.

The biogasoline will be made from molasses, a byproduct of sugar production. However, a sugarcane farmers association in East Java, a province that accounts for half of domestic production, told The Jakarta Post that crop productivity had been falling over the past four years.

“For bioethanol, the challenge is economic feasibility. [High] molasses prices and [low] sugarcane productivity makes ethanol’s main raw ingredient quite expensive,” said...