The Palm Scribe

Land Transportation airs mixed Signals over Biodiesel program

The Jakarta chapter of the Land Transportation Organization (Organda) is fully backing a government policy requiring the obligatory 20 percent mixing of palm oil-based biofuel into biodiesel fuel as of September 1, 2018, but bus and truck operators still have the reservation.
“This is a policy of the government…we must support it,” Shafruhan Sinungan the chairman of the chapter said, adding that the mandatory mixture, known as B20, was in line with the government to be able to meet the Euro 4 vehicle emission standard by 2021.
He said that the B20 produced a cleaner burning process and therefore was also cleaner in terms of emission.
However, he also said that the Jakarta Chapter of Organda, as well as at the national level were now waiting for an official recommendation from the vehicle brand agents (APM) which would be responsible for providing the appropriate fleet of vehicles.
The B20 program is said to be able to save foreign exchange because it would reduce import of fossil fuels, and thus help strengthen the country’s trade account, The oil and gas sector has posted a deficit of some $5.4 billion in the past six months while the non-oil and gas sector recorded a $ 4.4 billion surplus,
Chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) Rosana Roslani told journalists after meeting with President Joko Widodo on Monday (27/8) that the B20 program would be able to cut down the trade deficit if well implemented.
“It is the government’s job to push for the B20 so that it can pressure it (the deficit) to about $11 billion and the government has asked for the business world commitment that this (policy) be really implemented,” Roslani said.
He quickly added that the mandatory use of the B20 should remain limited to the consumption sector and should exclude the productive industry sector.
Sinbungan said that so far, there has been no problem for vehicles in using the B10 biodiesel mixture and added that he also foresaw no problem for the use of the B20, except perhaps for old vehicles.
“What is important is that we look forward,” he said.
However, Kurnia Lesani Adnan from the transportation company SAN Putra Sejahtera was quoted by as saying that the use of B10 for his buses has led to a more rapid replacement of the diesel oil filter.
The deputy chairman of the Indonesia Association of truck Operators (Aptrindo), Kyatmaja Lookman said that half of some six million trucks in operation in the country were around 20 years old and therefore their engines would have difficulties accommodating the B20.
Lookman was quoted by as saying on Tuesday (28/8) that the use of B20 could lead to damage, especially for old engines.
B20, he said allowed water into the mixture and also tended to clean the engines much better, resulting in the dirt to be carried and deposed to other parts of the engine. Lookman said that the majority of the country’s truck fleet would need a water separator in order to be able to run on B20. They had no such problem running with B5 or B10, he said.
Paulus Tjakrawan, the chairman of the association of Indonesian Biofuel Producers (Aprobi) could not immediately be reached for comment and thus it remained unclear as to whether there were enough supplies to meet the needs of the B20 program.
The President of  London Sumatra Indonesia Benny Tjoeng told that the entire production of the company’s oil palm plantation was absorbed for the fabrication of cooking oil and this left nothing for other purposes, including biofuel. He also said that the company also had no plan to produce biofuel so far.
Following the expansion of the obligation to use the B20 diesel oil mixture to now cover the non-subsidized sector or the non-public service obligation sector, the government last week also set fines of Rp 6,000 pr=er liter for enterprises who do not comply with the requirement The fine would be both applicable to fuel distributors or the fuel user. The mixture is under the responsibility of state oil and gas company Pertamina.
Oil and Gas Director General at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, Djoko Siswanto, last week said that another sanction in the form of revocation of the business licenses for distributor or consumer who do not comply with the B20 program. The revocation can only take place if the company still failed to abide after three consecutive warnings and after a fine had been slapped against them.
The biodiesel policy is contained in a presidential regulation number 66 of 2018 on the use of biodiesel for non-public service obligation sector that was signed by the president on August 15, 2018.
The state utility firm PT Perusahaan Listrik Negaranis still exempted from the B20 program because its turbine engines need to be adjusted for the use of the new mixture fuel. The Indonesian armed forces and giant gold and copper miner Freeport Indonesia were also exempted, for the time being, officials have said.
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