Indonesia energy ministry says B30 passed cold temperature tests

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia’s Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry said biodiesel with 30% palm diesel blend passed a series of cold temperature tests this week as the government aim to increase the palm content in biodiesel early next year.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said earlier this week he wants the so-called B30 standard to be adopted in January next year, up from the current B20 standard which contains a 20% blend of palm fatty acid methyl ester (FAME).

Widodo said the higher blend of palm in biodiesel should be able to address the problem of high energy imports and slowing global demand for palm by increasing domestic consumption of the vegetable oil.

The energy ministry said a number of passenger cars were tested in Java’s highland region where they were left in cold temperatures for up to 21 days.

“The start ability test results show that the cars can be started normally. This proves that the B30 flows well in the engine even though it has been left for 21 days in cold conditions,” Dadan Kusdiana, head of the research department at the energy ministry said in the statement.

The B30 fuel is expected to go through more tests until October.

Energy ministry estimates that consumption of FAME could increase by more than 50% next year with the implementation of the B30 standard.

Indonesian palm oil exports are under pressure after the European Union said palm should be phased out from transportation fuels in its market due to its contribution to deforestation, while India, the world’s top vegetable oil buyer, has imposed an import tax on palm oil.

Meanwhile, the European Commission on Tuesday imposed countervailing duties of 8% to 18% on imports of biodiesel from Indonesia.

Reporting by Wilda Asmarini; writing by Fransiska Nangoy; editing by Christian Schmollinger