Minister for research, technology and higher education, Mohamad Nasir, inaugurates the catalyst teaching industry at Bandung Institute of Technology’s chemical engineering department, on October 11.

Nasir said the ministry was supportive to the strengthening of innovation at higher education institutions through a “teaching industry”. A cooperation between education firms and the industry is crucial for the benefit of the society and the commercialization of research products.

“This is a first step of the marketing of research products to the general people and the industry,” said Nasir.

In regards to ITB’s new facility, Nasir said it would help Indonesia achieve the energy sovereignty target. The program focuses on producing gasoline and chemical substances from palm oil.

“We will support this catalyst industry to achieve energy sovereignty. This catalyst, economically speaking, could save energy. Palm oil could be used for gasoline, so that Indonesia no longer need to import,” said Nasir.

ITB rector Kadarsyah said in his speech that the catalyst teaching industry was supported by the research ministry and the industry.

Kadarsyah said the facility would be used to implement catalyst synthesis theories, characterization of catalyst and evaluation of reactor and catalyst performances. ITB always tries to help the public to be benefited from research products.

ITB’s catalyst teaching industry has three sections:

  1. Catalyst production unit, which has a crucial role in bridging research with commercialization;
  2. Catalyst characterization unit, which consists of various devices to evaluate physical and chemical characters of catalysts. This unit evaluates and controls catalyst quality; and
  3. Catalyst performance evaluation unit, which consists of various high-pressured tubular reactors and batch reactors.

The development of this facility was preceded by a string of explorative research aimed at designing and synthesizing catalysts. These research projects cooperated with various processing industry firms at national level. TRK ITB’s cooperation with the PT Pupuk Iskandar Muda has been able to build an adsorbent to clean natural gas by absorbing H2S polluter gas. This adsorbent, named PIMIT-B1, has been commercially produced and used in various gas processing firms.

A partnership between TRK ITB and PT Pertamina (Persero) has been doing some research to process hydro naphtha and Molybdenum- and Nickel-based diesel. TRK ITB is funded by the Indonesian Oil Palm Estate Fund (BPDP KS) to create catalyst that is able to produce gasoline and chemical substances from palm oil. Now, almost all research projects done at TRK ITB are commercial-oriented.

At this occasion, Nasir also presented 17 tons of catalyst, produced by TRK ITB-Pertamina, to the oil firm’s RU-IV Cilacap refinery. The catalyst is named PK 23 TD and is used to clean diesel fractions from sulphur and nitrogen polluter. This is the only catalysts synthesized by local technology and used at commercial processing units, such as the oil processing unit.

Also attended the event were Pertamina’s senior vice president research and technology center (RTC) Herutama Trikoranto, ministry’s director general for learning and student affairs Intan Ahmad, director general for strengthening of innovation Jumain Appe, member of ministry’s expert staff Paulina Pannen and Hari Purwanto, parliament members, West Java deputy governor, Pertamina officials, scientists and other guests.