Monday, September 20, 2010

Indonesia Needs to Develop Cassava and Castor Oil as Alternative Energy

Indonesians should be grateful for the abundance of natural resources useful for various commodities. Some of the commodities mainly concerned currently is the use of plans as bio diesel which comes from Jatropha Curcas (Castor Oil) and bio-ethanol form cassava. The use of both plantations as an alternative energy was interestingly discussed in an international seminar themed “Agriculture for the Development on Second Bio-energy to Reduce Climate Change Effect” in The 53rd International Association of Students in Agricultural and Related Sciences (IAAS) World Congress held by IAAS Local Committee Unpad. The seminar took place in Bale Rumawat Padjadjaran, Dipati Ukur Street No. 35 Bandung, Monday (26/07).

In the opportunity, Chemistry Professor from Mathematics and Natural Sciences Faculty Unpad, Prof. Dr. Wawang Soratno, MS., explained that plant development in use as fuel like castor oil is now needed. In the middle of oil shortage, bio diesel is now an interesting alternative energy to further develop.

“Why is biodiesel use very important for Indonesia? Because of less oil availability, the prices are just higher. Right now Indonesia is importing 7 million liters per year or around 30 percent from national need of oil. Meanwhile, the national energy supply is shorter. Biodiesel technology production is relatively simple, easy to develop and mastered by Indonesians. Besides that, Indonesia also has abundant biodiesel resources,” explained Prof. Wawang who is also the Head of Unpad Basic Science Training Center.

Meanwhile, Bambang Priyatna, Ak., MSA., from Madani Energies explained that the biodiesel industry developments’ prospect is quite promising. Not only since the abundant sources, in fact is the manufacture process also quite easy and cheap. In cassava biodiesel industry that he concentrates on currently, he calculated a total of 2 billion rupiahs machine investment and the capital needed in nine months are Rp 25 million. From that amount, if a farmer produced 200 tons of cassava sold for Rp 400/kg, then the farmer will gain benefit around Rp 55 million.

“The use of cassava bio ethanol is more economical that LPG. Other than that, use of cassava also share more benefit since all of its parts can be used, as glucose, ethanol, bio-kerosene, and tapioca,” he said.

In the seminar mediated by Prof. Dr. M. Ade Moetangad Kramadibrata, the congress was participated by 13 countries of IAAS members such as Belgium, Mexico, Uganda, Spain, Poland, Russia, German, USA, Swiss, Netherland, Slovenia, Portugal, and Indonesia. The delegations from Indonesia was represented by students from Institute of Agriculture Bogor, University of Brawijaya, and of course Unpad. The delegations from Unpad at that chance were Aurora Septi (Industrial Agricultural Technology Faculty 2007), M. Haidar Helmi (Agricultural Faculty 2007) and Femmy Nur Basri (alumnus Agricultural Faculty 2004).

The congress took place in four cities, Malang, Bandung, Bogor, and Jakarta. The participants don’t only follow the seminar but also involved in discussions and visits to several companies and tourism sites.

In the one held in Unpad, other than international seminar, IAAS committee also conducted a Poster Competition themed “Sustainable Energy” for high school students and college students. In the competition, Muhammad Noor Rizal (Letter Faculty), Sandi P (Psychology Faculty), and Jihad Akbar (Communication Faculty) came up as winners. They deserved a certificate and prize in form of cash.

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