50 species of plants in Indonesia can provide alternative fuel
Gorontalo, (ANTARA News) - About 50 species of plants in Indonesia can be processed into alternative fuel to cope with an energy crisis in the country, Retno Gumilang, a lecturer at the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) said here Tuesday (8/15).
Indonesia ranks second in the world in biodiversity, so the country`s potential in the provision of basic materials for the production of bio-fuel as alternative energy source is quite high, according to Retno, who also serves as a researcher.
Among the species of plants that can provide bio-fuel to substitute conventional fuel are oil palm, castor oil, candlenut, pinnate seed, four-sided bean, kapok, tengkawang, mindi, margosa, merunggai, canari, rambutan (similar to lychee), soursop and sesame.
The 50 species of plants that can be used to substitute for kerosene are actually only the smaller part of species in Indonesia that yield vegetable oil to be processed into bio-fuel, however further study is still needed.
"So it is not necessary to be afraid of an energy crisis as Indonesia is rich in natural resources unavailable in other countries," the researcher revealed. The domestic demand for diesel oil and kerosene is high, so the provision of alternative energy sources is imperative to anticipate energy shortage, she added.
The soaring crude oil price on the world market has raised the cost of diesel oil and kerosene production in the country and fuel subsidy, she said. To ensure security of energy supply and to reduce diesel oil import, it is urgent to seek alternative energy sources to substitute diesel oil and kerosene as soon as possible, she emphasized.
Technology that has been developed in Indonesia can be applied in the operation of the bio-fuel industry that produces clean and renewable alternative fuel, she explained, adding that for that purpose, the head of government has issued Presidential Instruction (Inpres) No.1/2006 on the provision and utilization of bio-fuel as alternative energy sources.
The instruction is directed to the coordinating minister of the economy, the energy and mineral resources minister, the agriculture minister, the forestry minister, the industry minister, the trade minister, the transportation minister as well as provincial governors and regents/mayor in Indonesia..
Bio-diesel in Gorontalo
Responding to Inpres No.1/2006, the Gorontalo provincial administration is determined to begin using bio-diesel from castor oil as an alternative energy source to substitute for conventional fuel as of 2007.
The head of the Gorontalo Research and Development Office, Rusthamrin Akuba, said here on Tuesday that the province is rich in plants that can provide raw materials for bio-diesel.
Some 2,500 ha of land in the province are now provided for the cultivation of castor oil plants that can yield 5.0 tons of castor oil seeds/ha over a span of 50 years, according to Rusthamrin.
In 2005, the Gorontalo administration vowed the use of bio-diesel to substitute diesel oil and kerosene, and in 2006 has begun opening a plantation for 200,000 seedlings of castor oil plants.
The plantations will be expanded up to 25,000 ha by 2009, and the opening of those plantations will be followed by the development of the bio-diesel industry the province, he said.(*)