UNAIR Lecturer Uses Waste for Electricity

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Trial test of innovation by FST UNAIR lecturers who make waste as a source of electricity. (Photo: By courtesy )
Trial test of innovation by FST UNAIR lecturers who make waste as a source of electricity. (Photo: By courtesy )

UNAIR NEWS – Waste is one of the biggest problems in the world, especially in Indonesia. Poor habits of communities, littering with improper waste management make the environment dirty. As seen in one of the locations of Community Service Program (KKN) in Jember, many villagers throw garbage out in the river which ultimately pollutes the sea.

This habit inspired Herri Trilaksana, S.Si., M.Si., Ph.D., Universitas Airlangga Physics lecturer with a team of students (Andri Wahyudianto, Tabitha Pamela Chrisolite, and Rifki Ferdiansyah) made an innovation to produce electricity from waste. The waste utilized was waste which can be processed to produce synthetic gas. Synthetic gas is a simple chain chemical bonding gas such as carbon monoxide and hydrogen gas which is easily combusted through a combustion engine.

“Hopefully, the exhaust gas produced from the combustion process of this synthetic gas is clean, so it does not pollute the environment. The gas produced from combustion, if it is not clean, it will damage the environment, “said the Physics Department lecturer had just finished his Ph.D. in Flinders University, South Australia last September.

Two-Stage Process

This research has two stages. First at the laboratory and second at the applicative scale. At the laboratory scale, solid organic materials are used to produce gas. Organic waste is chosen as fuel because it does not have many harmful contents.

At that stage, Pak Herri said that the difficulty exists during the gasification process. The process of changing solid fuel into gas. The process is not easy to get clean gas.

“So, the problem is how to make the system produce synthetic gas separated from the impurities. It means that the purification process must be good, “he added.

Furthermore, the laboratory stage of the cleaning system is still using filtration, and the purification (cleaning) also uses a very simple system. However, the weakness of the laboratory work is that the combustion temperature cannot be high as the waste fuel used can not be fed continuously.

“The temperature cannot be high, so the produced gas will be little, and the impurities still exist, “he said.

The lecturer who concern for energy also said that in the second stage, the focus was on developing the reactor, by modifying the reactor temperature by 700 ° C so the gas produced can be cleaner and the rest will turn to ash instead of charcoal. Meanwhile, at that application stage, the waste that is used as material is unlimited.

Trial Results

At the community service program in Mojokerto at SMAN 1 Bangsal, Mojokerto Regency, a trial was carried out using an 1100 VA generator and had succeeded in generating electricity. Next, given the first load, a blower requires 200 VA and works well. Second, given a load of electric saws around 700-750 VA, it still works. The trial can last for half an hour with the pure synthetic gas produced.

With this research, Herri hoped that the existing solid waste that has not been appropriately managed, especially organic solid waste, can be appropriately utilized. The garbage turns out to be able to be changed to produce electricity.

Furthermore, independence is not impossible. As long as people can be energy independent, everything will be cheap ( affordable ). On the other hand, when Indonesia cannot be energy independent, everything will become expensive.

“And, expensive is a factor of having money or not. So, if we don’t have money, but energy is cheap, it will not be a problem in life, “he said.

“So, I hope there is change for the current waste which is poorly managed. If we can do far better than that, why don’t we do it? So we can also produce electricity, “he concluded. (*)

Author: Asthesia Dhea C.

Editor: Feri Fenoria Rifa’i

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