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INSISTS Sustainable Bioenergy Development in Indonesia

Bioenergy is an important part of Indonesia’s energy agenda. A main preoccupation is to combine local resource potential with competitive technological options to provide modern and reliable energy services. This shall help improve the country’s energy balance, and enhance energy security. Swedish experiences and expertise in bioenergy can provide support and insights that are most valuable to the country. The program INSISTS (Indonesian-Swedish Initiative for Sustainable Energy Solutions) establishes a platform to support cooperation in this field.

KTH is one of the member partners of INSISTS. The initiative was set up following a memorandum of understanding between Indonesian Energy Council and Swedish Energy Agency. The goal is to exchange experiences in the field of renewable energy and energy technology. Under the framework, KTH works closely with the Indonesian partners including University of Gajah Mada in the city Yogyakarta and Indonesian Energy Council, to develop strategies for sustainable bioenergy deployment in Indonesia. The project duration of the first phase is 2014 – 2017.


Biomass contributes 30 % of the total energy supply in Indonesia. The government of Indonesia sees bioenergy as an attractive option to promote socio-economic development and improve energy security. Modernization of bioenergy can add value to existing resources and serve to meet increasing energy demand, as well as create jobs and reduce poverty. Policy efforts have been made in the country to promote mandatory targets for biofuels, and introduce small-scale biogas in rural areas, among others. However, the development of modern bioenergy in Indonesia is still incipient. In addition, some previous efforts have been criticized due to negative environmental impacts, such as the expansion of palm oil plantations. Incentives and specific measures are needed to enhance and utilize the biomass potential in sustainable ways so as to generate more economic value and welfare.

An overall policy strategy is needed for bioenergy deployment in Indonesia to guide towards sustainable and efficient use of resources, and optimal development of various bioenergy segments. Pathways need to be defined including technological roadmaps and strategies for these bioenergy segments. For definition of pathways, assessments of costs and benefits are needed for various options as well as related implications when it comes to distribution in geography and time. A holistic approach is required to improve competitiveness both on the agricultural and industrial sides, leading to enhanced energy service provision and improved self-sufficiency. The synergies between agricultural and industrial sectors are key to success in face of competing uses for land and water, and the need to improve resource management and guarantee both food and fuel supply. The global climate benefits provide further incentive for Indonesia to explore its bioenergy potential.

Aim and objectives

The project will define strategies for deployment of sustainable bioenergy in Indonesia. Indonesia has large biomass potential and policies are being defined to deal with energy and climate challenges. Opportunities exist to build synergies with various sectors of the economy, thus promoting sustainable production while also creating jobs and income. Strategic choices, public policy, and coordinated action among stakeholders at local and national levels shall be defined based on biomass resources and commercial technologies available, using multiple criteria to determine an enhanced role for bioenergy. Ultimately, bioenergy shall contribute to improved energy security, energy balance in the economy, and welfare. Attention shall be given to guarantee food security and welfare distribution. The project will recommend strategies and roadmaps for various bioenergy segments in the country.


The project will result in a multi-step strategy and implementation plan towards a competitive bioenergy production in Indonesia. The idea is to build upon existing structures to define entry points for expansion. In a second step, the strategy will evolve towards the use of low-value feedstocks in the form of various agricultural wastes using second generation technologies. The strategy will incorporate all drivers of technological innovation, viz. policy and regulatory, environmental, technological, socio-economic, and institutional, thus being placed in a broader context of bioenergy development nationally and internationally. The project takes advantage of experiences from other countries that have succeeded in the modernization of bioenergy, particularly Sweden. All in all, the idea is to take advantage of opportunities for leap-frogging while developing bioenergy strategies in Indonesia.


Harahap, F., Leduc, S., Mesfun, S., Khatiwada, D., Kraxner, F., & Silveira, S. (2019). Opportunities to Optimize the Palm Oil Supply Chain in Sumatra , Indonesia. Energies, 12, 420

Harahap, F., Silveira, S., & Khatiwada, D. (2019). Cost competitiveness of palm oil biodiesel production in Indonesia. Energy, 170, 62-72.

Khatiwada, D., Palmen, C., & Silveira, S. (2018). Evaluating the palm oil demand in Indonesia: production trends, yields, and emerging issues. Biofuels.

Harahap, F., (2018). An evaluation of biodiesel policies - The case of palm oil agro-industry in Indonesia. KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden (licentiate thesis, available in diva2:1182335).

Harahap, F., Silveira, S., & Khatiwada, D. (2017). Land allocation to meet sectoral goals in Indonesia—An analysis of policy coherence. Land Use Policy, 61, 451–465.

Khatiwada, D., & Silveira, S. (2017). Scenarios for bioethanol production in Indonesia: How can we meet mandatory blending targets? Energy, 119, 351–361.

Khatiwada, D., Venkata, B. K., Silveira, S., & Johnson, F. X. (2016). Energy and GHG balances of ethanol production from cane molasses in Indonesia. Applied Energy, 164, 756–768.

Silveira, S., & Johnson, F. X. (2016). Navigating the transition to sustainable bioenergy in Sweden and Brazil: Lessons learned in a European and International context. Energy Research & Social Science.

Master thesis

Egeskog, Y., Jannik, S. (2015). Life Cycle and Water Footprint Assessment of Palm Oil Biodiesel Production in Indonesia (master thesis - published). Available in: diva2:905572

Aaman, S., Lundberg, H.H., 2017. Setting the seeds for a green growth - A Study of biofuel development in Indonesia’ s transport sector (master thesis - published). Available in : diva2:1165894

Ghiandelli, M., (2017). Development and implementation of small-scale biogas balloon biodigester in Bali, Indonesia (master thesis - published). Available in: diva2:1198348

Naimah, D., 2017. Sustainability Assessment of Small Scale Biogas Production Using Livestock Manures in Yogyakarta Province, Indonesia (master thesis - published). Developed in collaboration with Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Available in: diva2:1197532

Al Naami, A., 2017. Techno-economic Feasibility Study of a Biogas Plant for Treating Food Waste Collected from Households in Kartamantul Region, Yogyakarta. (master thesis - published). Developed in collaboration with Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Available in: diva2:1209090

Sani, L., 2018. Pathways for a Sustainable Treatment of Biomass Residue at Palm Oil Mills: the Case of Indonesia (master thesis published). Available in: diva2:1290872

Funded by

Swedish Energy Agency

Project members

Project Leader: Prof. Semida Silveira
Dilip Khatiwada , PhD
Fumi Harahap

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