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Pertamina continues efforts to develop “Green Fuel” from Crude Palm Oil

Pertamina continues efforts to develop "Green Fuel" from Crude Palm Oil
Photo courtesy of Pertamina

Indonesia’s state-owned oil and gas company PT Pertamina is continuing its efforts to develop new “Green Fuel” from Crude Palm Oil (CPO). Pertamina is working on three types of Green Fuel, namely gasoline, diesel fuel and aviation turbine fuel (avtur).

The processing method is different from the 20% biodiesel blend, where the CPO material, fatty acid methyl ester, is blended with petroleum diesel fuel.

Since the beginning of December 2018, Plaju’s Refinery Unit (RU) III has been able to process CPO into Green Gasoline and LPG Green with co-processing technology.

Pertamina Processing Director Budi Santoso Syarif said that the CPO processing process was carried out at the Residual Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit (RFCCU) facility located at the Pertamina Plaju refinery, with a capacity of 20 thousand barrels of stream per day (MBSD). The CPO used is a type that has been processed and cleaned of sap and odor, also known as RBDPO (Refined Bleached Deodorized Palm Oil).

The RBDPO is then mixed with either gasoline, diesel fuel or aviation turbine fuel produced from Pertamina’s refineries, using chemical processes to produce environmentally friendly fuels called Green Fuel.

“Direct mixing of CPO with fossil fuels in this refinery is technically more perfect with chemical processes, resulting in higher quality gasoline fuel because octane values have increased,” Budi said.

The results of the co-processing have produced 405 MB/month of Green Gasoline Octane so far, equivalent to 64,500 kiloliters per month and Green LPG equivalent to 11,000 tons per month.

“This effort strongly supports the government in reducing the use of foreign exchange, where Pertamina can save imported crude by 7.36 thousand barrels per day or in a year to save up to USD160 million,” he said.

Furthermore, Budi said that the processing of CPO during co-processing at the refinery has contributed positively to the company and the country.

“The level of domestic content or TKDN is very high, because the CPO is sourced from within the country, transactions carried out with the rupiah so as to reduce the state budget deficit, as well as the results of environmentally friendly fuels,” Budi said.

Going forward, this step will be followed at other refineries, namely RU Cilacap, Balongan and Dumai and will be expanded to Green Diesel and Green Avtur.

Pertamina has also conducted research to create domestic-made catalysts that can be used for the process.