The Indonesian government announced it would conduct pilot bioethanol production from palm oil stems, which would make use the abundant by-product from the country's plantations, local media reported on Friday.
Hailed as the second generation of bioethanol, the fuel, also known as lignocellulosic bioethanol, is the extract of woody biomass considered more abundant and cheaper than fuel created from food crops.
Haznan Abimanyu, a scientist from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), said the first plant was designed to produce 10 liters per day.
"The empty stem and midrib of oil palms would be used as raw material," Haznan said on Thursday.
Bioethanol is a type of biofuel that is most used in transportation, as it can be blended with gasoline and used in automobile engines.
Compared to fossil-based fuels, bioethanol is clean and environmentally friendly, with a high oxygen content of 35 percent.
Indonesia has produced the amylum-based bioethanol, mostly from corn, sugarcane and cassava.
Indonesia is the largest crude palm oil exporter and producer, with 7.5 million hectares of oil palm plantations, 45 percent of which are managed by smallholders.
Haznan said bioethanol production could rely on the sector.
The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry said that fossil fuel use in Indonesia reached 95 percent on average, and is subsidized by the government. To cope with the climate impact of the excessive use of fossil fuels, the government is accelerating the use of new and renewable energies by issuing a presidential regulation on national energy policy, which stipulates that the use of new and renewable energy is projected to reach 17 percent of the total national prime energy use by 2025.
About 5 percent of the new and renewable energy will come from biofuels.
LIPI is currently developing a 2.2 million US dollars, three- year project to establish a pilot plant to produce lignocelluloses- based bioethanol, the Jakarta Post reported.
The project is funded by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and involves technical assistance from the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) and ChangHae Ethanol Co. Ltd.