The state oil company of Indonesia PT Pertamina has produced its first batch of biodiesel made entirely of palm oil (D100), Reuters reported on 15 July.

Following the successful production of D100 at its Dumai refinery, the company said it was expecting to produce 1,000 barrels/day.

Indonesia raised the biodiesel content in diesel fuel to 30% (B30) in 2019 from 20% (B20) previously and is planning to gradually increase blending to 100%.

“This trial shows that our refinery and catalysts are ready. Next, we have to think how to make the economic side work too,” Pertamina CEO Nicke Widyawati was quoted by Reuters as saying in a statement.

In Indonesia, the world’s largest palm oil producer – biodiesel was made with fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) from palm oil, Reuters said. However, efforts to increase FAME concentrations in biodiesel had been resisted by users as higher blends required special handling and equipment.

Instead of using crude palm oil to create FAME and mixing it with regular diesel, the D100 processes refined, bleached and deodorised palm oil straight into its refinery using catalytic cracking and hydrogen gas, the Pertamina statement said.

Indonesia’s biodiesel programme is a key part of the government’s strategy to soak up excess supplies of palm oil and reduce expensive fuel imports.

In May, Indonesia had said it was likely to delay plans to raise the biodiesel blending mandate to 40%.

In a report on 16 June Reuters said the country’s plans to produce fuel made entirely from palm oil had been pushed back by three years from 2023 to 2026 due to research and investment plans being disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.