PGN consortium plans to develop biomethane as a fossil fuel substitute

Jakarta – PT Pertamina Gas Negara Tbk (PGN) has formed a consortium with JGC Holdings Corporation (JGC), Osaka Gas Co Ltd, and INPEX Corporation to develop biomethane as a substitute for fossil fuels.

The planned biomethane project will start in Southern Sumatra in 2025. In-depth study phases are being conducted, such as technical assessment of the supply chain, biomethane production and supply.

PGN’s Director of Strategy and Business Development, Harry Budi Sidharta, said that several oil palm plantations in South Sumatra have signed a memorandum of understanding in procuring raw materials for Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME) or palm oil waste.

“This project will use PGN’s natural gas pipeline network to distribute biomethane produced from POME, the raw material from palm plantations,” he said in a written statement.

The biomethane produced from this project is expected to fulfil the gas needs of industries and customers in Indonesia and encourage the development of new renewable energy (NRE).

Indonesia, the world’s largest palm oil producer

Indonesia is the world’s largest producer and exporter of palm oil, contributing 4.5 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). The palm oil industry in the country employs nearly 3 million people.

Palm oil production leaves behind POME waste rich in organic matter and produces large methane emissions. It is estimated that methane emissions have a greenhouse effect 25 times greater than CO2.

The biomethane production process will capture methane gas released into the atmosphere from POME, to be refined into biomethane gas and distributed through natural gas pipelines and other existing infrastructure to customers in Indonesia. Thus, this biomethane project will reduce methane gas emissions and fulfil natural gas needs in Indonesia.

The project was introduced at the Asia Zero Emission Community (AZEC) Ministerial Meeting in March 2023 as an initiative contributing to Asia’s carbon neutrality.

Sidharta said the project aligns with Indonesia’s energy transition towards the Net Zero Emission (NZE) target in 2060. Natural gas can reduce emissions by up to 40 per cent. It will be one of the energy solutions to achieve Indonesia’s emission reduction target of up to 377 million tonnes of CO2 by 2035. (Hartatik)

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