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Jakarta Post

Ministry aims to finish 1,000-hour B40 biodiesel road test this year

  • Norman Harsono
    Norman Harsono

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, September 1, 2020   /   10:09 am
Ministry aims to finish 1,000-hour B40 biodiesel road test this year Hundreds of trucks take part in an annual gathering in Malang, East Java. The Indonesian Truck Operators Association (Aptrindo) has complained about water damage and blockage in vehicle engines since using B20 biodiesel. JP/Aman Rochman (JP/Aman Rochman)

Indonesia plans to complete two key tests for its domestically produced palm oil-based biodiesel by November this year, as the world’s top palm oil producing country prepares to move ahead with the 40 percent biodiesel blend (B40).

The test involves running two static diesel engines on the lower-emission fuel for 1,000 hours inside the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry’s research and development lab, said lead researcher Sylvia Ayu Bethari on Aug. 26.

She and her team are testing the engines’ fuel consumption, emissions and power levels, among other performance indicators. The biofuel is notorious among commercial vehicle operators for damaging engines. 

“We are now testing the two engines’ durability [when using B40],” she said during a virtual media visit.

The government plans to make the use of B40 biodiesel mandatory starting in July 2021 to cut Indonesia’s oil imports, which is a major contributor to the country’s overall imports bill.

The ministry is testing two B40 variations: one being regular diesel mixed with 40 percent fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) – a substance derived from palm oil – and the second being mixed with 30 percent FAME and 10 percent distilled FAME, which is hoped to reduce damage.

However, Indonesian Automakers Association (Gaikindo) chairman Jongkie Sugiarto previously signaled that carmakers were not on board with the B40 plan. 

Read also: Indonesia’s B40 biodiesel plan back on track after palm oil prices improve

“Gaikindo asks to be given time to prepare for the implementation of B40,” he told The Jakarta Post.

The ministry tested the previous B20 and B30 biofuels by driving vehicles thousands of kilometers, but both Gaikindo and Indonesian Bioenergy Expert Association (IKABI) greenlighted the static test method, considering the country was still partially locked down.

Read also: After five-month road test, B30 implementation gets green light

“For the time being, we won’t test on the road. That’s rather difficult. There are still concerns,” said ministry research head Dadan Kusdiana on Wednesday, adding that his department was also conducting early B50 tests.