Water hyacinth plants grown in lakes and rivers have been considered a severe pest in the past. However, now there is a breakthrough technology that is capable of changing water hyacinth into a new source of renewable energy. A kilogram of hyacinth is much cheaper than gas energy.
IPMI International Business School
Amelia Naim Indrajaya
Thousands of acres of the lake have been covered by hyacinth. This has become a serious matter, since it has a negative impact on the people around the lake and the natural ecosystems in the region. Now, water hyacinth is used as a resource for renewable energy, which is environmentally friendly. Now, the problem has become a blessing. When the pest (water hyacinth - red) is used to produce renewable energy, the lake is cleaned, and the tourism potential in Pening Lake can be further developed as a place for water attractions and other new tourist attractions.
How to reduce the existence of gulma plants in Pening lake? One of the creative innovations is to use hyacinth as a briquette fuel for industrial processing factories. Hyacinth is smashed into a powder, then processed with press machinery and broiled into wood pellets.
The whole water hyacinth is used, from the leaves to the roots. Freshwater hyacinth is chopped and put into the dryer machine. It takes 15 minutes to produce the pellets. The dryer installation capacity of 1 ton can dry out the water hyacinth within 20 minutes. The dry water hyacinth then is ready to be inserted in the pellet's mill.
The potential of Rawa Pening tourism in Semarang Regency is very large; it just hasn’t been explored to its fullest. The emergence of water hyacinth decreases the level of oxygen solubility, which makes the animal and plant life in the water decrease and also increases siltation and sedimentation, which harms the surrounding ecosystem. Rawa Pening Lake covers an area of 2,700 hectares (ha), 1,900 ha of which was covered by water hyacinth plants.
Before, the depth of Rawa Pening was 30 meters; now it is only 4-5 meters because of the sedimentation. There have been efforts to clean up and train the communities on how to utilize the water hyacinth, but because the water hyacinth grows relatively qucikly (1 stem of water hyacinth can proliferate to 1 square meter within 23 days), these activities have not been able to reduce the plant population. The hyacinth plant disrupts other populations in Rawa Pening Lake, mainly due to the seizure of oxygen.
Therefore, Sido Muncul is determined to turn water hyacinth into renewable fuel.
Utilizing this kind of energy source has a positive impact on the environment and socioeconomic situation of the surrounding communities. With the decline of hyacinth, the lake or river can be a beneficial source of water for the community. Currently, Sidomuncul can take advantage of water hyacinth in Pening Lake (around 100 tons per day or 3 ha water hyacinth area) for the fuel needs industry.
Waste water hyacinth is processed through a machine for chopping and drying to become a solid product (briquette/biomass), and the resulting pellets formed can be used as a new source of energy, replacing fuel oil or gas. It can be used to substitute oil and gas with 90% effective calorie ratio, while coal briquettes have a 40% effective calorie ratio. The fuel for the production process of the herbal factory of Sido Muncul now currently combines 50% wood pellets and 50% gas.
Waste water hyacinth treatment is highly efficient and effective in reducing the use of conventional fuels. It has many advantages over other energies such as gas. This is more profitable than using LPG. Gas usage involves 11,000 calories of LPG but costs Rp 12,000 per kg. While water hyacinth produces 4,300-5,000 calories, it only takes about 2.6 kg. The price of wood pellets is Rp 1,600 per kg, so 11,000 calories only costs Rp 8,300. In addition to being cheaper, the pellets are up to 30% more efficient.
Sido Muncul's machine is capable of processing 10 tons of hyacinth raw materials per hour; 5-6 kg of fresh water hyacinth produce 1 kg of pellets. The machine can work on a regular basis without shift for 8 hours per day. When applied shift, it can run 24 hours nonstop. Wood pellets are sold from Rp 1,500 to 1,600 per kilogram.
The water hyacinth processing plant is also an effort to solve the problem of the uncontrolled water hyacinth populations on the surface of Rawa Pening Lake. Massive water hyacinth cleaning also helps reduce and clear the lake corresponding to desired targets, to clean swamps, and to provide significant positive impacts on agriculture, fisheries, tourism, and other areas such as hydroelectric power, irrigation, and availability of clean water, jobs, and a good environment.
The launching of the program by developing a pellet factory can be greeted positively by the government. This innovation empowers other sectors of support in order to increase local government income and work toward a prosperous society.
Bambang Supartoko, SP., M.Si., MM.Par, Public Relations Department
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Semarang, Semarang City, Central Java, Indonesia
Business Website: http://sidomuncul.id/
Year Founded: 1951
Number of Employees: 1001-5000
PT. Industri Jamu and Pharmaceutical Sido Muncul Tbk is a traditional herbal medicine and pharmaceutical company using cutting-edge machines. Beginning in 1940 in Yogyakarta, and managed by Ny. Rahkmat Sulistio, Sido Muncul started as a home industry and slowly grew into the big and famous company it is today. Sido Muncul received the Corporate Performance Rating Assessment Program (PROPER) award for the period 2016-2017 in the Green category from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry of the Republic of Indonesia. The company's environmental management has been doing more than required in rule (going beyond compliance) through the implementation of environmental management systems, resource conservation, and social responsibility.