TIL that Biofuel Indonesia is complicated
1.Why biofuel is not popular in Indonesia?
I, myself even know nothing about renewable energy in Indonesia, until around 2014. Now I start to realize why I did not know. It simple because the share of renewable is very low <5%, that's why people still believe that Indonesia has large oil reserve, and subsequently believe that the problem is because of corruption. Sad, maybe we did not realize that we are sinking.
2.But it should be growing right, we are in 2016?
Technically it just started post financial crisis, so somewhere in 2000s. But after financial crisis, everything is unstable right. There is national energy policy in 2005, updated again in 2014, well but it is too early to concluded that its successful. But we can concluded that it just started (in turbulance economy of course)
3.Wait, why it is complicated?
As usual, inefficient government, should not be blamed of course, involving
– conflicting policy: Energy Ministry (Biodiesel) vs Industry Ministry (LCGC)
– energy subsidy: biodiesel more expensive than diesel fuel
– low demand: flexi fuel vehicle is required
– infrastructure: gas station that sell biodiesel <10%
4.Wait, but Indonesia has second largest palm oil plantation in the world?
DEN member cited that Brazil has the ethanol used by 60% of BBM in their country. The same DEN cited that largest palm oil lead to biodiesel and even second generation of bioenergy can be generated. But the fact is ethanol in brazil only represented 17% by transport sector (or it can claim 50% by gasoline fleet market share). My point is Brazil has advantage and it is not a simple transition process.
5.Ok, Can we learn from Brazil?
Well we need to remember that Saudi start their transition in 1930s with their deal with US company for oil exploration and after second world war begin as the leader in oil industry. So the Brazil history also should be understood as the process that begin in 1532 of sugarcane cultivation, and before the rise of Saudi it also begin to producing ethanol for war. The modern ethanol fuel begin in with 1970s, not far from the first oil crisis. But the story of Brazil ethanol is complicated, in 2009 it cited that ethanol used by 66% of gasoline vehicle, but in Nov 2013, it is only used by 23% flex-fuel vehicle.
6.But, can we compare with Brazil?
No, Indonesia is 20th largest energy consumption, Brazil is 10th largest. Comparing energy consumption is difficult because Indonesia is in tropical country which technically need less energy than people in subtropical country. (Brazil is tropical country btw)
7.Ok, what can we learn from other country?
US for example because of it's position is better to grow corn, instead of sugarcane. But it is more complicated. Don't forget US is incomparable with Indonesia. ref, ref, ref
8.How about fuel yield
From here as follow, number seems promising but it still lower than fossil fuel.
– Sugar beet (France) 714
– Sugarcane (Brazil) 662
– Cassava (Nigeria) 410
– Sweet Sorghum (India) 374
– Corn (U.S.) 354
– Wheat (France) 277
– Oil palm 508
– Coconut 230
– Rapeseed 102
– Peanut 90
– Sunflower 82
– Soybean 56
9.Ok, I know this is debate food vs fuel right?
Not really, there are some of crop that only used for generate energy, which called energy crop such as jatropha (Jarak Pagar). The energy crop is also complicated.
10.Final question: Why biofuel is not used (prioritized, focussed) in Indonesia?
It is not a right question. It just like asking why there is no endpoint in circle? It is because of circle definition is the one with no endpoint. Indonesia can be defined as developing countries, so it can be defined by not having an advantage energy system.