Renewable Energy in Indonesia


Renewable Energy in Indonesia


Research Question

Witters is studying the biodiesel content of calophyllum seeds found in Indonesia to help build knowledge towards what is the best way for Indonesia to create a sustainable and more self-sufficient energy future. The largest question when obtaining biodiesel is: how to capture the oil in the cheapest, and quickest and sustainable manner possible?


CGS-SER Nielson International Internship/Fieldwork Grant


The in-situ-transesterification of calophyllum seeds will add additional knowledge to a growing database of biodiesel sources that could provide sufficient carbon neutral sources to Indonesia’s energy infrastructure. These databases will provide the knowledge needed to develop the most economical means needed for the development of renewable energy. This knowledge will help Indonesia reach its goal to increase its renewable energy share from 4.5% in 2006 to 17% by 2025. Indonesia has also developed into the 3rd most greenhouse gas emitter, which has been due primarily to deforestation. Using the calophyllum seed as a biodiesel source will help to reduce deforestation due to the other promising benefits that the calophyllum tree may offer, and decrease the concern for Indonesia’s decreasing hydrocarbon production.

Methods Used

The in-situ transesterification of the calophyllum seed is being studied as a one-step process to extract oil out of the seed and obtain a pure, usable biodiesel, where normal transesterification is usually done with already extracted pure oil. To perform in-situ transesterification a lipid-bearing material (calophyllum seed in this case) is directly introduced with an alcohol (methanol) to both extract and react with lipids. A catalyst is then introduced to the mixture to facilitate the conversion to hydrocarbon chains that are desirable for combustion uses. Any additional extraction will be done using hexane as an extraction solvent. In this study, the methanol to seed ratio, amount of catalyst (KOH), stirring speed, temperature, and reaction time will all be studied and a statistical analysis known as an ANOVA will be done to determine significant factors related to the reaction and the reaction parameters that provide the most return.


The ANOVA test will provide us with the knowledge required to optimize the reaction parameters needed to obtain the highest yield of biodiesel from the calophyllum seed. Once significant parameters are determined these parameters will be adjust to obtain maximum yields. The calophyllum seed is known to have roughly 73% oil content; high extraction yields have been seen in similar experiments (87%) and similar yields of oil are expected in this experiment as well (80-90%). The final product is also expected to have a high purity of roughly 99% usable hydrocarbons.

Publication Date



Chemical Engineering


Chemical Engineering

Renewable Energy in Indonesia


Book Location