The government has been testing the 20 percent biodiesel blend, B20, performance on locomotives operated by PT Kereta Api Indonesia and will come out with a recommendation on whether to resume the policy by August, an Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry official said on Tuesday (22/5).
Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry expert staff Dadan Kusdiana told the Palm Scribe in a short message service that the performance tests had been ongoing for three months and would be monitored for another three months until August 2018.
“The results of the test will become a recommendation to the government and the engine manufacturers, GE (General Electric) and EMD (Electro-Motive Diesel), to use the B20 program,” Kusdiana, who is also the Technical Test Team Study and Test Road Usage of B20 Head at PT Kereta Api Indonesia, said.
He added that an ad endorsement from the two engine manufacturers, GE and EDM, was necessary if B20 was to be used.
Kusdiana, as quoted from the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry official website, said that the use of 20 percent biodiesel blend on PT KAI locomotives for the past three months had shown a positive result.
“For the past three months, we have not found any problems with either the engine performance or the B20 itself,” Kusdiana said.
“There are still three months to go to find out whether B20 can work at its best on PT KAI’s engines,” Kusdiana said.
B20 has been tested on EMD and GE locomotives of PT KAI that are used to pull long-haul coal trains in South Sumatra. The trains made a round trip serving the route from Tanjung Enim to Palembang and back, with the total distance of approximately 800 kilometers and a travel time of about 2.2 days. The release said that the coal train was selected for the test because of its heavy load and long route.
“There were a number of phases in the testing of B20, including taking the diesel fuel sample, testing the locomotive performance with a distance of 23,000 kilometers or 1,620 hours for GE locomotives and 27,000 kilometers or 1,770 hours for the EMD engines,” Kusdiana said.
He explained that the Government continues to increase the use of biodiesel in various sectors, including in transportation.
Initially, the Government required biodiesel mixture to be used only in the power generation sector but later expanded the blended use to the mining and transportation sectors as well.
The biodiesel blend for the trains was previously set at 5 percent and increased subsequently to 20 percent. Biodiesel is produced from palm oil in Indonesia.