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INSIST: Research on sugarcane-based bioethanol in East Java

On 3rd – 7th of April 2017, colleagues and Anna Carlsson, a student from Lund University, working together in INSIST Project (collaboration project between European Commission and KTH Royal Institute of Technology) regarding assessment of bioethanol production focusing on sugarcane. The team did a data collection through interview and FGD from sugarcane farmers, sugar unit producer, bioethanol producers and government staffs.

The aim was to assess the current condition of bioethanol fuel grade production and its potential improvement. Since Indonesia has various biomass resources and the Government also target up to 20% of bioethanol in blending fuel program, it is important to prepare strategies to achieve the target. East Java is known to be the first sugar producer in national level. Therefore, molasses and bagasse have high possibility as potential feedstock.

Some of interesting findings were found in this trip. Even though East Java is a region with the highest sugar production, around 50% of national level, the amount is still much lower than demand. For example, 5 tonnes of sugar demand can only be fulfilled by 40% of total demand. Thus, imported sugar now is still needed. This condition is affecting the current availability of bioethanol feedstock: molasses. There is only one fuel grade bioethanol producer in East Java “PT. Energi Agro Nusantara” that participate in blending fuel program. However, since world oil price is currently going down, this factor also influencing market availability of bioethanol. Based on field trip data, the analysis and also recommendation to have alternative strategies of fuel-grade bioethanol implementation are now being conducted.

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