Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has renewed his call to accelerate the development of palm oil-derived biodiesel in his State of the Nation address on Friday, claiming this would be one way to boost Indonesia's industrial prowess and shield the country from potential trade wars.
"We need disruptive innovations that turn impossibilities into opportunities, weaknesses into strengths and what used to be worthless into something valuable," Jokowi said.
State energy company Pertamina has been mixing palm-oil based biodiesel with conventional diesel in the past few years to cut down on fuel imports and make use of the country's abundant palm oil reserves.
"We started off with the B20 program, and now we're going into B30, a diesel mix with 30 percent biodiesel," Jokowi said, referring to the codes that indicate the vegetable oil content in the mix.
"But we can do more; we can make B100," the president said in his address at the House of Representatives.
Jokowi had set a target for Indonesia to use the B30 biodiesel mix by January next year and the B50 by the end of next year.
Businesses have got behind biodiesel, but they have also complained about sediments from the fuel clogging their machinery, forcing them to conduct maintenance more often.
But the rush to shift to biodiesel could be precipitated by another reason.
Indonesia is on the brink of a trade war with the European Union, which earlier this week slapped an 8-18 percent anti-subsidy tariff on Indonesian biodiesel.
The EU also imposed new regulations that would effectively freeze its palm oil-based biodiesel import at 2019 level and phase out palm oil fuel entirely by 2013.