Japan Turns to Palm Oil Byproducts as Alternative Energy Source

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta-Japanese investors have begun to show their interests in importing palm-derived products, including byproducts such as briquettes and coals, and discarded palm shell casings from Indonesia to be developed as a potential source of renewable energy. In fact, the request has been sent to the Indonesian Trade Promotion Center (ITPC) in Osaka, Japan. "This is the effect of Japanese government new policy of ending the monopolization of electricity generating industries," said the Osaka's ITPC Head, Hotmida Purba on Thursday, April 7 , 2016.

    As per April 1, 2016, the government of Japan has deregulated the management and distribution of electrical power in the country - which means that private sector money are starting to come, and along with it, comes newer innovations. According to Hotmida, this is a golden momentum for Indonesian exporters - as it could prove to boost Indonesia's income from the non oil-and-gas sector. 

    According to ITPC Osaka's record, Japan requires some 240,000 tonnes of briquettes to fuel its non-nuclear power plants, while its crude palm oil requirement reaches 48,000 tonnes per year. Japan also needs some 120,000 tonnes of discarded palm shell casings every year - with an estimated amount reaching 120,000 tonnes annually.

    The Chairman of the Indonesian Palm Oil Association, Joko Supriyotno, said that although Japan has never been a large importer of palm-based products in previous years, the similar moves across the globe could mean that the demand might soon spike - not only in Japan, but also all across the globe. "But the possibility could only be fully explored once we could meet our own national demands for such products," he said.

    According to Joko, there a quite a significant number of power plants in Indonesia that have begun to shift to use discarded shells of palm fruits to generate their own electricity. "We need to properly balance the need between exports and imports, so that everyone benefits from this scheme." he said.