Many Indonesian farmers say they haven’t seen advantages from the nation’s biofuel program. Cellulosic ethanol may assist repair the issue, a brand new op-ed says.Tenny Kristiana of the International Council on Clean Transportation argues Indonesia may develop a home cellulosic ethanol trade that will use leftover plant residues akin to palm trunks, empty palm fruit bunches and palm press fiber.Currently, Indonesia exports these leftovers to nations like Japan, however creating an trade at house may help native farmers and create new jobs in factories, transportation and plantation work.This submit is a commentary. The views expressed are these of the creator, not essentially of Mongabay.
Indonesia’s biofuel program was speculated to be a boon for small farmers.
But though the nation’s biodiesel manufacturing has skyrocketed, many farmers complain that this system hasn’t benefited them. Farmers are nonetheless struggling to develop into a part of the biodiesel provide chain, which is dominated by giant palm oil companies.
How can the scenario be addressed? Cellulosic ethanol could possibly be the reply.
Cellulosic ethanol is derived from plant fibers, that are usually composed of cellulose. Indonesia’s palm oil trade, the world’s largest, produces big volumes of leftover plant residues akin to palm trunks, empty palm fruit bunches and palm press fiber. With superior know-how, these uncooked supplies might be become ethanol that may be blended with gasoline.
Last yr, President Joko Widodo introduced plans to develop Indonesia’s sugar cultivation space to 700,000 hectares (1.7 million acres), a part of a bid to spice up growth of renewable sugar-based ethanol and wean the nation of extreme petroleum consumption. But with vacant land typically laborious to return by in a nation of some 280 million individuals, my group, the International Council on Clean Transportation, believes cellulosic ethanol may serve in its place.
Straw waste can be utilized as uncooked materials for cellulosic ethanol. Photo: Falahi Mubarok for Mongabay Indonesia.
Our latest research on cellulosic ethanol discovered Indonesia has excessive potential to develop the trade, able to producing as much as 2 million kiloliters (528 million gallons) per yr from palm residues alone. Currently, Indonesia exports these residues to nations like Japan, which imports palm kernel shells for biomass energy technology to satisfy its renewable vitality targets.
Exporting palm waste to overseas markets might be tempting, and it’s not incorrect within the brief time period. In the long run, nevertheless, by solely specializing in exports, Indonesia would lose out on the chance to develop a home processing trade, particularly as “downstreaming” has been a constant theme of the Widodo administration’s financial technique.
Developing a home cellulosic ethanol trade may improve the earnings of small farmers, who may promote empty fruit bunches and palm fibers to cellulosic ethanol producers beneath long-term contracts. Many within the trade stay unaware of the potential financial advantages of palm oil waste, so the federal government ought to present coaching and data.
As for palm trunks, they could possibly be included as a situation of the federal government’s nationwide replanting program, in order that state-owned enterprises akin to Pertamina, the nationwide oil firm, may get hold of them free of charge and use them as uncooked supplies in cellulosic ethanol manufacturing. This may scale back manufacturing prices and scale back the necessity for presidency gas value subsidies, a significant drain on the nationwide price range.
Developing this trade would additionally create jobs in manufacturing facility, transportation and plantation work. Since the cellulosic ethanol enterprise is new to Indonesia, it will likely be simpler for farmers to enter the provision chain from the early levels of its growth. Unlike the biodiesel trade, which is already properly established, this could possibly be an awesome alternative to encourage farmers to contribute to the nationwide biofuel program. This is the precise time for Indonesia, wealthy in uncooked supplies, to develop into a world chief in cellulosic ethanol manufacturing.
After the trade will get off the bottom, inputs could possibly be diversified to different residues akin to rice straw, corn stalks, sugarcane bagasse, cassava stems and waste wooden from demolition, increasing the advantages past farmers of every kind of crops.
The success of cellulosic ethanol growth could make the federal government proud to say, “Cellulosic ethanol, from farmers for the Indonesian individuals!”
Banner picture: Yuliana and Singapue, staff in an oil palm plantation in Kalimantan. Image by Cooke Vieira/CIFOR through Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).
Tenny Kristiana is an affiliate researcher at International Council on Clean Transportation.
This story was reported by Mongabay’s Indonesia crew and first revealed right here on our Indonesian web site on March 29, 2023.
Indonesia’s biofuel push should transcend palm oil to cut back threat, consultants say
Agriculture, Alternative Energy, Biodiesel, Bioenergy, Biofuels, Business, Clean Energy, Commentary, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Environment, Governance, Green Energy, Industrial Agriculture, Industry, Mrn-indonesian Palm Oil, Oil Palm, Palm Oil, Plantations, Pollution, Tropical Forests