Unlocking the Potential of Methane Gas from Palm Oil Residues: A Catalyst for Renewable Energy Mix Targets

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Unlocking the Potential of Methane Gas from Palm Oil Residues: A Catalyst for Renewable Energy Mix Targets. Photo by: Special

PALMOILMAGAZINE, JAKARTA – The palm oil industry in Indonesia not only serves as a provider of food and energy but has also emerged as a solution for a sustainable future. Embracing the concept of zero waste, these industries have transformed into ‘green gold,’ not only producing the primary product but also optimizing waste to generate renewable energy.

Hadi Sugeng, the General Secretary of the Indonesian Palm Oil Association (IPOA), highlighted the substantial potential of palm oil wastes, such as empty husks, liquid, and solid residues. These byproducts can be effectively utilized, with a notable application being the production of methane gas—a viable substitute for conventional energy sources.

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This revelation was made during the Seminar Nasional Percepatan Peningkatan Pemanfaatan Gas Metana di Pabrik Kelapa Sawit Sebagai Sumber Listrik, Bio-CNG, dan Hidrogen (National Seminar on Accelerating the Utilization of Methane Gas in Palm Oil Mills for Electricity, Bio-CNG, and Hydrogen).

Also Read: PGN Biomethane Project in South Sumatera: Harnessing Palm Oil Waste for Clean Energy

Palm oil trees, known for their productivity in efficient areas, provide the most useful vegetable oil. The generated wastes find diverse applications, including energy production, particle boards, fertilizers, and animal feed. However, a significant challenge faced by the palm oil industry lies in environmental impact, particularly concerning greenhouse gas emissions in the form of methane gas.

Hadi Sugeng told that methane gas from palm oil production significantly contributes to the warming globally. “But by applying nowadays technology – methane gas capture, methane gas can be changed to be source of energy that would minimize the production and be used as fuel substitution for many needs, starting from boiler to power plants,” he said, as in the official statement to Palmoilmagazine.com, Wednesday (31/1/2024).

From the economic perspective, advantaging renewable in palm oil mill efflucnet (POME) should massively deliver economic values. This would minimize not only dependence on power plants in diesel – base, generator set, diesel, and liquid petroleum gas (LPG), but also would be the same with the government’s commitment about net zero emission and Paris Agreement.

Also Read: European Team Green Conference: Energy Transition Support for Indonesia

Director of Bio Energy General Directorate of New Renewable Energy and Energy Conversion (NREEC) Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resource, Edi Wibowo said that it is important to get collaboration and cooperation between the government and private sectors to realize new renewable energy targets. Though coal industries still dominate energy advantage in national level, it needs strategic things to escalate the roles of new renewable energy to realize net zero emission in 2060.

Petrus Gunarso, an environmental observer said that it needs coordination between Ministry of Environment and Forestry and Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resource to realize nationally determined contributions (NDC) targets in energy sectors.

Besides positively delivering impacts for the environment, palm oil industries would significantly contribute as the biggest revenue contributor out of mining sectors. The facts that palm oil derivative products exporting to 160 countries and contributing Rp 600 trillion revenue in 2022 should be the real evidence that palm oil industries play the roles for the economy in Indonesia.

By fully taking advantages on palm oil industrial potential, Indonesia would keep becoming the leader in developing environmental renewable energy and positively contributing to climate change challenges in the globe. The collaboration among the governments, private sectors and the people would be the key to realize the vision and reach the sustainable targets. (T2)

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