According to Biofuels International, the EPA had set a carbon emission reduction requirement for palm oil to at least 20 per cent to enable it to be used as raw biofuel in the US. Its research reported palm oil biodiesel had just 11 – 17 per cent lower emissions than petroleum-based fuels.
However Professor Budi Indra Setiawan of the Bogor Agricultural Institute, Jakarta feels the assumptions and data used by the EPA should be reviewed.
“55 per cent of land allocated for palm oil plantations was made up of non-forest land and only a small percentage came from primary forest,” says Professor Setiawan.
“The CO2 emission calculated here at Bogor is 50 tonnes of CO2 per hectare per year which is equivalent to 28 per cent emission reduction, much higher than the 20 per cent required by the EPA.”
Professor Setiawan is also confident that the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil initiative – a scheme designed to make palm oil production sustainable in compliance with laws and regulations – will soon be implemented to further boost production.