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Biofuel from Seaweed for Korea and Indonesia

INDONESIA - A joint project has been launched between the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology (KITECH)and the Indonesian Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources to make biodiesel from seaweed.

KITECH already has the technology to process the seaweed and the Indonesian fisheries ministry says that its long coastline with warm climate ensures an abundant harvest of seaweed.

The spokesman of the Indonesian fishery and marine resources, Soen`an Hadi Poernomo told ANTARA News: "Korea's need for energy is large but its supply of natural resources namely seaweed is small," he said.

However, he added that Indonesia does not have the technology to process the seaweed into a fuel source and therefore needs a partner for mid-term and long-term benefit.

He said the seaweed that would be exploited for the development of the biofuel was the Geladine variety currently being cultivated in Maluku, East Belitung and Lombok.

He said the price of biodiesel is still quite high at around US$2 per litre but in the next three years following the exploitation of the seaweed the price was expected to fall to US$1 per litre.

Soen`an did not tell when the project would be realized but at the end of this year the South Korean president would come to the country.

"We hope the president of KITECH would also come here to further discuss the cooperation," he told ANTARA News.