Pal oil

Joint initiative to explore feasibility of turning Indonesia palm oil waste into bio-methane

Indonesia is the largest producer and exporter of palm oil in the world. This high-quality oil is used in cooking in developing countries, food products, detergents, cosmetics and more. The milling of palm oil releases considerable methane (CH4) emissions due to the large quantities of organic material, such as degrading parts of the oil palm fruit in the mill effluent. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas. In August 2021, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) claimed that over a 20-year period it is 80 times more potent at warming than carbon dioxide.  

On April 25, global engineering company, JGC Holdings Corporation, announced it had signed a joint study agreement on a biomethane-derived clean gas project with Indonesian state-owned oil and natural gas corporation, PT PERTAMINA (Pertamina), and Japanese companies Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. (Osaka Gas), and INPEX CORPORATION (INPEX).  

The study will explore the feasibility of containing palm oil mill effluent (POME) greenhouse gas emissions by sequestering methane and converting it to environmentally friendly biofuels. Several facilities and locations in Kalimantan and Sumatra have been provided by Pertamina that offer access to raw material sources.

JGC Holdings Corporation says the joint initiative will include cooperation on the research and development of technologies and solutions. The goal of the project is to supply bio-methane through the existing gas grid in Indonesia, while directly addressing Scope 1 gas emissions. The group also indicated they intend to leverage carbon crediting mechanisms and bio-methane certification schemes to secure carbon neutrality. JGC Holdings indicated the consortium will look to identify bio-methane/bio-LNG and bunker fuel marketing opportunities in Japan and further abroad.

The announcement emphasised that the study aligns with the Japanese Government’s 2021 Asia Energy Transition Initiative (AETI) which includes a variety of support mechanisms for realising energy transitions in Asia.