Pertamina taps Clariant for cellulosic ethanol plant
Clariant announced that it is working with Indonesia’s state-owned oil and gas corporation, PT Pertamina, to evaluate and test the feasibility of Clariant’s sunliquid® technology to process available regional feedstocks in Indonesia into the advanced biofuel, cellulosic ethanol.
Indonesia has a vast potential of untapped biomass, from empty fruit bunches to palm leaves, that could be converted into cellulosic ethanol. Their present-day utilization is negligible and, until now, both feedstocks are frequently burnt, causing air pollution.
In Indonesia, ethanol demand is expected to increase dramatically, spurred primarily by a nationwide E10 ethanol blending mandate.
Since 2018, Pertamina and Clariant have been collaborating, initially focused on techno-economic performance analysis, and the testing of empty fruit bunches and palm leaves. The final results of the assessments proved that the sunliquid® technology can successfully convert both feedstocks into cellulosic ethanol while achieving a good conversion yield.
Further, a recently conducted conceptual engineering study quantified process balance, facility specification, and process economics. This lays the groundwork for Pertamina’s continued consideration of investing in commercial-scale advanced biofuel production plants.
“We are delighted that Pertamina, a renowned energy player in Indonesia, has chosen our sunliquid® process for this technology and feedstock assessment, as well as for a process design study for a commercial-scale plant based on regional feedstocks,” said Christian Librera, Clariant’s vice president and head of Business Line Biofuels and Derivatives.
“As other international oil companies start to navigate energy transition, Pertamina has committed to play its part by fostering clean energy development to reduce global carbon emissions. Our new and strong aspiration is underpinned by essential judgment about the forthcoming future, that clean energy is the key to energy sustainability,” said Andianto Hidayat, Pertamina’s vice president of Downstream Research and Technology Innovation.
“As a result, we are strengthening our business portfolio by producing green fuel, such as biodiesel, green aviation fuel, and bioethanol using palm residues that are abundant in Indonesia. We are embracing a robust growth in clean energy by building two green refineries and optimizing domestic resources to ensure Indonesia’s energy independence,” he added.
The realization of commercial-scale, advanced biofuels projects based on regionally available feedstocks, could help Indonesia become more independent from foreign fossil fuel imports and secure its national energy supply. In 2015, the Indonesian government introduced national biofuels targets. The bioethanol mandate in transport for the non-Public Sector Service Obligation (PSO) aims for a 10% bioethanol content as a gasoline additive and will be realized in the next few years.