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You wouldn’t think a herd of pooping cattle would be
a massive problem, but it is — organic waste
management is a headache in many areas of rural
Many farmers leave waste from livestock and crops on
their farms, or throw the waste into rivers, causing
environmental problems such as eutrophication.
Methane emissions from animal flatulence also
contribute to the smell and pollution, and has been
found to be more potent than carbon dioxide when it
comes to warming the planet.
Yayasan Rumah Energi is an organisation based in
Indonesia that is hoping to change how organic waste
in rural communities is managed. One of their
programmes, Biogas Rumah (BIRU), is encouraging
the use of biogas in homes or by small businesses.
Biogas is a gas produced when organic waste
undergoes anaerobic digestion -- biodegradable
material breaking down in the absence of oxygen. The
gas is then piped into homes for cooking or for
lighting gas lamps. The fermented remains become
bio-slurry, a cost-free, all-purpose fertiliser.
This process takes place in a biogas digester. BIRU
engages local NGOs to help rural communities build
the digesters, which range in size and price.
“The potential of biogas is great in Indonesia because
of the enormous quantity of cattle. A large amount of
cows, pigs, fowls and other agricultural waste is
available,” says Wilhemus Leang, a provincial
coordinator for Yayasan Rumah Energi.
Theresia Rukyatun runs a small milk-producing
business in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. She invested in a
biogas digester when she built her cattle farm. “Our
goal is modest, to be energy efficient,” she says.
Because her farm pasteurises their own milk before it
is packed and sold, production costs are high,
especially since hers is a small business. She used to
spend 1.5 million to 2 million rupiah (US$110 to
US$150) a month on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)
on pasteurisation alone.
Now, with biogas, Theresia does not need to pay for
LPG for production. The money she saves translates
into more benefits for her employees.
“We can increase their salary, and we can invest more
in our storage,” she says.
Theresia is not the only one benefitting from biogas.
Throughout Indonesia, many farmers and smallbusiness owners are using biogas in different ways.
These include tofu and tempe producers, goat
farmers, fish farmers and many more.
“We farmers actually have a lot of resources around
us,” says Theresia. “All we need to do is manage our
farming waste.”
BIRU hopes that more farmers and business owners
like Theresia will start becoming more sustainable in
their practices.
“We engage with the public to think about renewable
energy because it is inexhaustible,” says Wilhemus.
“The availability of biogas will last alongside the
availability of organic waste on earth.”
Find out more about BIRU and the work they are
doing throughout Indonesia.
Get in touch to find out more about how you can make
use of biogas for your own business.
Biogas Rumah was founded in 2009 to promote the use of biogas as a
sustainable energy source to rural households. It has helped establish 22,446
digester units in 10 Indonesian provinces as of 2017.
Ari Rusyadi
Krystal Foo & Shirley Tamara
Hendrick Matulessy
Ahmad Yuniardi
Executive Producer
Von Tan & Denise Oliveiro
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throughout Indonesia