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    ITB Developed Catalysts for Palm Oil Conversion into Vegetable Fuels

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    BANDUNG - Educational-Catalyst Industry at the Chemical Reaction and Catalysis Engineering Laboratory (TRKK) of the Industrial Technology Faculty (FTI), Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) has produced innovative products in the field of catalysts.

    Research on the development of this catalyst has actually been initiated since 35 years ago by Prof. Subagjo and researchers in Chemical Engineering together with a number of Chemical Engineering students S1, S2, and S3 study programs at ITB. The existence of the laboratory is proof that Indonesian research products are able to answer the challenges of national independence.

    Research and development of formulas, characterization and test performance of catalysts on a Lab scale. conducted at TRKK ITB, while pilot scale testing as well as industrial scale is carried out in the Industry. For this reason Prof. Subagjo Professor of Industrial Engineering ITB emphasized that cooperation with industry is very important.

    "Collaboration with industry is needed especially for pilot scale testing and also industrial scale. PT. "Pupuk Iskandar Muda and Pertamina (Persero) are the first industry partners to give the opportunity to test the results of laboratory development in industrial scale reactors," he said when met by ITB public relations.

    TRKK Lab in collaboration with Pertamina's Research Technology Center (RTC) has produced various hydrotreating catalysts. Since 2011, no less than 140 tons of hydrotreating catalysts have been produced and used in 8 reactors at 5 Pertamina refineries.

    He further said the need for catalysts in Indonesia is currently quite large, estimated at 500 million USD and almost entirely imported from abroad. Only a small portion can be produced in Indonesia with a license from abroad. According to Prof. Subagjo, the government must be brave in making decisions in the production of national catalysts, because catalysts play a key role in the development and delivery of the chemical industry.

    In the past 5 years, the TRKK-ITB Laboratory with RTC Pertamina is developing a catalyst for the conversion of palm oil into biofuel (vegetable fuel), vegetable diesel, vegetable avtur, and vegetable gasoline. With the process and the catalyst, explained Prof. Subagjo, Indonesia will be able to reduce imports of crude oil (crude oil) and fuel oil (BBM).
     
    First generation catalysts have been developed since 2010, while the second generation began to be developed in 2015. This second generation catalyst, called PIDO130-1,3T, has been tested using a pilot reactor at RTC Pertamina for more than 10 months.

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