President asks private sector to develop biofuel

Nusa Dua (Antara News) - President of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Tuesday appealed to the private sector to increase its role in developing biofuel which is environment-friendly and more economical than fossil fuel.

The president made the appeal when visiting a Sugar Group Companies (SGC) pavilion in a Cool Energy Exhibition held on the occasion of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on Tuesday.

"I hope it will be developed further," he said.

Biofuel was far more economical than fossil fuel, SGC President Director Gunawan Yusuf said in reply to the head of state`s question.

"Without government subsidy premium-grade gasoline is currently priced at 72 dollar cents or around Rp6,600 per liter, while ethanol is only priced at Rp5,000 to Rp6,000 per liter," Gunawan said.

In the long run, another 2.5 million hectares of land would be needed to develop biofuel to replace fossil fuel.

The government would use idle land which currently covered an area of 7 million hectares to meet the need for land, he said.

Separately, on Tuesday, Chief of the National Biofuel Development Team Al Hilal Hamdi said the team intended to make use of another 5 to 6 million hectares of idle land to develop biofuel until 2012. The land is located outside Java.

"We must develop the mass production of biofuel. Therefore, the government has set itself the target of using another 6 million hectares of land until 2012," he said.(*)
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