TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – President Joko Widodo, or Jokowi, officially reminded the state-owned energy firm Pertamina and the Oil Palm Plantation Fund Management Agency to avoid being too frugal in developing the country’s catalyst industry as he reminded the energy company only has three out of roughly 50 catalyst producers to accelerate production.
“We have the ability to produce catalysts. We will follow this up in a special meeting. We want to be able to produce our own production material,” the president said in opening a national coordination meeting on Thursday, January 30.
One of the researches that he deems is in more need of the funding is the finding by an expert of catalysts and chemical reaction technology at the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), Subagjo, who developed palm oil into a bio-hydrocarbon fuel.
Through the lengthy research since 1982, Subagjo successfully created a recipe and produced palm oil catalysts amid the increasing demand for imported catalysts. Palm oil catalysts, in its nature, accelerates the chemical reaction in certain temperatures that turns palm oil waste into biofuel.
Subagjo’s team has received Rp8 billion of funding while also partnering with the state-owned energy firm in research and development. However, President Jokowi argues that the amount of funds is tiny compared to Pertamina’s income that reaches dozens of trillions.
“The Rp8 billion for Pertamina is small, that’s not funding. It is also small compared to Rp46 billion obtained from the palm oil funds. [The government’s] palm oil funds nearly reach Rp30 trillion. Why hold it back? I have ordered the minister to increase the ITB funding for the catalyst development,” said Jokowi. DEWI NURITA