The Palm Scribe

Industry Calls for Standards for Bio-hydrocarbon Fuel Terms and Quality

bio hydrocarbon illustration

The Indonesian bio-hydrocarbon industry is calling on the government to set a standard terminology for vegetal oil-based fuels to prevent confusion and also to set down quality standards for such fuels, an industry executive said.

“A good nomenclature is necessary so that no confusion arises and to show what the mixture is,” Tatang Hernas Soerawidjaja, who heads the Supervisory Board of the Indonesia Bio-hydrocarbon Society (MBI), told the Scribe in an email.

Soerawidjaja pointed out that so far, a number of senior government officials have been using a wrong terminology in talking about B30, B100, and Fatty Acid Methyl Esters (FAME) for example. They tended to mix up the terminology.

FAME, usually obtained from plants oils, is normally used as a blend-in component in fossil diesel to increase the renewable content of the fuel. B30 is fossil diesel oil with 30 percent content of FAME while B100 is a diesel oil made with hundred percent of vegetable oils. B100 is a bio-hydrocarbon fuel.

He said that the limit for FAME content in biodiesel for example is at 30 percent. What the government meant with B40 for example, was fossil diesel mixed with 30 percent FAME and 10 percent bio-hydrocarbon diesel.

Also read: Indonesia To Boost B30 Output up by 24% in 2020 to 11.9 million kiloliters: IKI

Everyone, he said, should have the same understanding and perception about the use and development of renewable energy from vegetal oils.

Soerawijaja said that a standard for biofuels, a term encompassing all biodiesel fuels regardless of their composition, was also necessary for a proper production of biofuels and their trade.

“A standard is of course necessary, because any fuel that is being traded needs to meet a quality standard that is mutually agreed by producers, producers of vehicles using the fuel, experts and the government,” he said.

He said that such quality standard for plant oil-based fuels should be set as part of the Indonesian National Standards (SNI) scheme and or set in a government regulation.

The government was currently pushing for a greater domestic absorption of the country’s crude palm oil (CPO) output in light of the highly fluctuating global market. One of the measures taken was to increase the use of CPO-based fuel mixtures or fuels.

Indonesia is currently the top CPO producer in the world and together with second largest producer Malaysia, account for about 85 percent of world CPO supplies.

Soerawidjaya said that the capacities of Indonesia’s refineries in producing biofuels was still limited and some modification would be needed to raise the bio-hydrocarbon content of the fuels.

He said that Indonesia’s refineries could only produce a fossil diesel mixed with up to 12 percent of bio-hydrocarbon diesel and the refineries needed to be modified if a higher bio-hydrocarbon diesel content was desired.

Although theoretically current refineries could produce a fossil gasoline mix containing up to 5O percent of bio-hydrocarbon gasoline, current production has been limited to a mixture of 15 percent only.

In the case of avtur, refineries are limited to producing a fossil avtur mix of up to three percent of bio-hydrocarbon avtur fuel. “If a higher than three percent content is desired, the refinery unit must be equipped with an additional isomer reactor,” Soerawidjaja said.

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