Indonesia aims to finish research on 40%-palm-based biodiesel in Nov

JAKARTA, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Indonesia, the world’s largest palm oil exporter, plans to finish research into biodiesel containing 40% palm oil by November, the head of the energy ministry’s research department said on Wednesday.

The country will implement the mandatory use of biodiesel containing 40% palm oil, known as B40, in July 2021 as it seeks to increase domestic palm oil use while slashing regular diesel imports.

The country previously scheduled a road test in April for B40, but that was delayed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The pandemic has also forced the research department to modify its testing methods, said Dadan Kusdiana, the head of research and development at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry.

“We don’t know how long this pandemic would last and how the protocol on the road would be,” Kusdiana said. “At this point we don’t have any plan to conduct road test.”

However, he said the Indonesian car manufacturers association has endorsed the new testing method.

Indonesia currently mandates biodiesel containing 30% of palm oil’s fatty acid methyl ester (FAME), the highest palm-based mix for biodiesel in the world.

The energy ministry’s research department is currently testing two different formulations for the B40 fuel, one containing 40% of FAME, and the other containing a mix of 30% of FAME and 10% of purer form of FAME, which has improved the quality needed in the fuel.

The fuels are tested on engines of passenger cars running for 1,000 hours.

The department, at the same time, is also running test for biodiesel containing 50% palm oil content, Kusdiana said. (Reporting by Fransiska Nangoy; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)