[su-re venture] Can we get electricity from sewage treatment lagoon?



Today is Easter Friday and a holiday. Indonesia is the largest Muslim country globally and recognises Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Christianity (Protestant and Catholic). Therefore, Easter Friday is also a holiday. When I work remotely, national holidays don't make much sense, and since Japan doesn't have Christian holidays, we had another online meeting today to discuss biogas and electrification.


A few days ago, our staff member Indri wrote a blog about the story of getting electricity from bioenergy: https://www.su-re.co/post/bioenergy-implementation-in-indonesia-part-5




Our biogas is produced by farmers in areas where clean energy is not widely used, who use cow and pig poop to produce biogas, which is then used directly as energy for cooking. It is not practical to generate electricity at this level, but it is cost-effective to generate biogas from the existing large amount of organic waste. In concrete terms, it is about extracting methane from human sewage and converting it into electricity. It is unnecessary to collect manure as a source of energy if a sewage treatment plant that collects a large amount of manure in one place is planned from below as a biogas system. In Auckland, New Zealand, where I lived a quarter of a century ago, a large part of the city was powered by the sewage treatment plant.




Now Bali is planning to upgrade its sewage treatment plant. However, the upgraded sewage treatment plant is a lagoon type, which means that the sewage is decomposed to some extent in an aeration tank and then dried and treated. As we interviewed in the last European Union projects, Indonesia does not seem to be in the habit of using organic fertiliser or compost made from human waste for agriculture. Particularly in Indonesia, where large amounts of chemical fertilisers can be produced cheaply, there seems to be no thought of taking the trouble to make organic fertilisers from human waste. Besides organic fertiliser and compost, biogas can also be extracted as an output from sewage treatment plants. However, as mentioned above, it seems that processing biogas is also not possible for the time being. The second phase of the project is already based on a lagoon system.


This means that for the time being, it is not possible to produce biogas and electricity from the sewage in Bali in this one system.


After the second phase of the project, the third phase is planned, but even in that phase, the pipes to the sewage treatment plant will only reach as far as Seminyak. In other words, the area around Canggu and further north, which is the hottest area, will not install the sewage treatment plant even if we wait for the third phase. In other words, there is a market for community-level biogas production and electricity generation in places where access to sewage treatment plants is not available even after the third phase.






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