Indonesia and South Korea have agreed to develop a seaweed-based biofuel as part of the two countries’ commitment to encourage green energies and tackle global warming.
The use of seaweed as the raw material for biofuel production is expected to draw support from environmentalists, who recently criticized the use of land-based raw materials such as palm oil, maize and sugar cane as having caused massive deforestation across Indonesia’s tropical forests.
Secretary general of Indonesia Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry Widi Agoes Pratikto and president of the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology (KITECH) Kyoung-hoan Na signed a memorandum of understanding for the biofuel development in Jakarta on Saturday, marking a joint cooperation to harness Indonesia’s abundant seaweed resources.
The agreement was signed at a meeting between chambers of commerce and industry from the two countries, and was witnessed by Indonesia’s Acting Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Sri Mulyani Indrawati and South Korea’s Knowledge Economy Minister Lee Youn-Ho.
“We expect that from this agreement, researcher and expert exchanges will take place along with training and empowerment of coastal communities and research and development on seaweed,” Indonesia Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry spokesman Soen’an Hadi Poernomo said in a press statement.
“[The activities] will also include encouraging partnerships between the private sectors of the two countries in the field of seaweed cultivation and processing,” he added.
According to Soen’an, Indonesia’s vast sea territory and resource-rich marine life, combined with South Korea’s advanced technology and high demand for energy, could fuel a strong economic relationship between the two countries.
Locations being considered as potential sites for research and development are West Nusa Tenggara, South Sulawesi and Bangka-Belitung.
Soen’an said the development of seaweed as a raw material for biofuels offered significant benefits while causing no damage to the environment because there was no need for deforestation.
“The cultivation of seaweed along the shores can even bring positive impacts to the environment,” he said.
For South Korea, the signing of the MoU is part of its implementation of its”Low Carbon, Green Growth” national vision, declared in August last year by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.
Biofuel-based “green transportation”, “green vehicle”, and “clean energy” programs are among the main projects in South Korea receiving stimulus support funds from the South Korean government. The country aims to increase the market share for renewable energies to 11 percent of its total domestic energy market by 2030.
For Indonesia, which will host the World Ocean Conference and Coral Triangle Initiative Summit in May, the agreement will significantly boost its efforts to protect its marine environments.
Following their bilateral meeting last week, President Lee and Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said they were seeking to play more significant roles at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December.
RI, S. Korea to develop biofuel from seaweed
Source: The Jakarta Post – March 10, 2009
Article by Erwida Maulia, Jakarta