Griffith helps Indonesia turn trash into power

Photo by Tom Fisk from Pexels.

Griffith University experts have delivered training to Indonesian decision makers on how to turn the country’s waste into energy.

The School of Engineering and Built Environment’s Associate Professor Prasad Kaparaju led the Australia Awards’ Waste to Energy (WTE) Short Term Award course, funded by the Australian Government to explore solutions to overcome Indonesia’s waste management challenges.

Associate Professor Prasad Kaparaju.

“WTE is a process to generate electricity or heat from residual wastes generated from agriculture, industry and communities,” Associate Professor Kaparaju said.

“The energy can be recovered as solid, liquid, or gaseous fuels, or as heat and can replace fossil fuels and decarbonise the energy and transport sector.

“Indonesia has a large amount of waste that can be turned into energy to power homes and small-scale industries, the cement industry and replace fossil fuels in passenger vehicles.”

The South East Asian country, known for its surfing spots and rice fields, generates an extraordinary amount of waste each day – approximately 190,000 tonnes.

Of the 25,000 tonnes of daily plastic waste, 20 per cent ends up in rivers and coastal waters.

The Indonesian government has approved the construction of 12 WTE plants, spending $1 billion on the initiative with an aim to reduce 70 percent of waste by 2025.

Participants in the Griffith-led virtual course, which included experienced engineers, policy makers, regulators and administrators in waste management and WTE projects, engaged in open discussions with industry leaders and guest presenters from Australia and Indonesia.

The training was held virtually due to COVID-19.

Working in groups, the participants developed Award Projects which involved plans to implement within their organisations.

During this process, they were encouraged to speak to Australian WTE experts and collaborate with the Indonesian Ministries and local governments in developing large-scale WTE infrastructure projects.

“Networking and interaction with Australian WTE experts and engaging in virtual site visits to some of the advanced WTE facilities across Australia through this course should give confidence to our participants when developing the policies and regulations for implementing these projects in Indonesia,” Associate Professor Kaparaju said.

Course co-lead, Associate Professor Sunil Herat, said course participants were now well equipped to meet challenges and drive solutions.

“Through this program we have managed to create much needed ‘local champions’ in this field,” Associate Professor Herat said.