Indonesia: Untapped biomass potential can drive growth of RI industry

Theresia Sufa The Jakarta Post 31 Jul 16;

Indonesia has vast biomass potential, large enough to meet Indonesia’s renewable energy demand and boost its economy, a researcher has said.

Energy expert Erliza Hambali said that with the aid of various technologies, Indonesia’s biomass sources, such as palm oil waste, could be converted into high-value products. The energy potential of biomass could be used in various industries as a substitute for conventional petroleum-based products, he added.

“We can create a new market of derivative products from palm oil waste,” said Erliza, director of the Bogor Agricultural University’s (IPB) Surfaktan and Bioenergy Research Center (SBRC).

Erliza said several technologies and conversion processes had been developed for biomass use so that in the future biomass could hopefully become a viable option for various industry because it was renewable, environmentally friendly and could reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

Erliza spoke during the 2017 International Conference on Biomass held in Bogor, West Java, from July 24 to 25. Around 200 researchers, practitioners and business players from Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia and the US attended the conference.

The potential of only a few biomass sources in Indonesia have been tapped so far either as energy sources or as raw materials in the country’s industries, the conference said. Meanwhile, many countries have used biomass as energy sources in the form of pellets. In Indonesia, the greatest source of biomass potential comes from palm oil waste.

Justinus Satrio, a researcher from Villanova University, USA, said biomass was not only an opportunity but also a challenge. “Biomass can damage the environment if its use is not compliant with environmental conservation principles,” he said. (ebf)

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